The Great Conjunction Of Jupiter And Saturn

BG and I wanted to try and get a glimpse of this event, so we set alarms and set up camp at a front window that was perfectly positioned for viewing.

I’m going to admit to some extreme ignorance on this. I really had thought that when there was talk of Saturn being in line with Jupiter, I expected it to fall behind Jupiter. So when I decided to just see what I could get with my camera, my mind was in that mode and expected certain things because of it, though I really didn’t expect to get anything at all exciting as I simply do not have the right equipment for anything amazingly detailed. I really just expected to get a bright dot.

Imagine my surprise when I see not just one dot with the naked eye, but a couple. BG and I were trying to decide what the second dot was, even using our Google Sky ap to try and identify it. Just a side note about that ap… it confirmed my thoughts on Saturn being behind Jupiter because that is what it showed on the screen instead of it being next to it. Other than giving us a place to look, it really didn’t help one bit in figuring out what we were seeing.

After I’d taken a few shots and BG had run off to take one of her finals, I decided to see what all that looked like if I zoomed in on one of the photos. My mind was absolutely blown. It looked like you could see Saturn’s rings peaking out from behind Jupiter. I was so stunned that I could see that and jumped back in to take a bunch more to see if I could get it to clear up. Some looked more like a solid ring and others dropped down to more single light points on either side of Jupiter.

I got all crazy exited, cropped out the best one I could find and got it posted on my FB page, bragging about getting the rings. Then I went looking at  photos other people had gotten. And got really confused. Turns out Saturn is that mysterious dot to the side and what I thought were the rings really weren’t. I was so disappointed and felt like such an idiot.

I finally found a diagram of what was where and realized, okay, so I didn’t get Saturns rings, but I DID get 3 of Juipter’s moons and, quite possibly, Pluto as well. Yes, they are still really just dots, but the placement is clear.

I reposted the photos with a correction and the diagram I’d found, disappointed by the fact that I didn’t actually get those amazing rings. One of my friends jumped in and corrected me saying that because Saturn’s dot is more oblong than Jupiter, that technically I DID get the rings, they just aren’t clearly defined.

Considering I didn’t expect to get ANYTHING, I’m really stoked that I got what I did. Below is the full size photo. Even without blowing it up in size, you can still see some of those elements.

Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn
Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn

This is the diagram I found on Earth Sky to give you and idea of which dot is which. This is why I said I THINK I also got Pluto because it isn’t pictured here.

Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn Diagram From Earth Sky
Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn Diagram From Earth Sky

The closer look at what I managed to capture. You can clearly see the big dot of Jupiter with a moon close on either side and a third just up and to the left. Saturn is the slightly smaller, egg shaped dot up and to the right of Jupiter. Then, if you look close, almost straight down from Saturn is the faintest dot. That is the one I think may be Pluto (feel free to correct me if you know what it is).

Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn Close Crop
Jupiter, Moons, & Saturn Close Crop

While yesterday was THE day to see the two planets this close, you can still see them together for the next several days, with more distance between the planets each day.