It is an extremely rare phenomenon. Jupiter and Saturn will get as close as possible this Monday evening, until they give the impression that they are brushing against each other. “It is a bit of a coincidence in the great watchmaking of the movements of the planets”, explains on franceinfo François Forget, astrophysicist, planetologist and research director at CNRS. The Earth, Jupiter and Saturn will be perfectly aligned Monday, during a “Great conjunction” which will not occur until 2080 in such proportions. “It only happens very rarely that they are perfectly aligned like this”, confirms the astrophysicist. Indeed, the last time was July 16, 1623. And to see these two planets again so close, it will be necessary to wait until March 15, 2080.
“When you become aware of what you see, that you are from the spaceship Earth and that you see the planets crossing, it’s dizzying because, suddenly, you have the physical sensation of the immensity of our solar system, of all this movement, ”enthuses the planetologist.
Saturn and Jupiter, the two largest planets in the solar system, will be so close today, “that with the naked eye, it will be difficult to distinguish them”, explains François Forget. “What’s more, it’s good, it’s early in the night”, rejoices the astrophysicist even if, in France, the climatic conditions will not be optimal. “Even if we can’t see it because there will be clouds, there will still be people all over the world who will take very beautiful photos”, he assures.
“In the same field, we will have Saturn next to Jupiter. We will have the illusion that all of this is a very close system. A bit like in science fiction, we will have planets next to each other. It will be just an illusion but it will be lovely “, promises François Forget who advises to look at the phenomenon with binoculars or to contact astronomy clubs.