Another small taste from upcoming Astronomical Calendar 2016
This is really just a filler created for a corner of one of the pages about Saturn. By way of explanation, here is the caption I’ve just written for it:
“Jupiter overtakes Saturn at intervals of about 20 years. Each time, Saturn has progressed 2/3 of the way around the circle. These heliocentric conjunctions take place around longitudes 60 [degrees], 180, and 300, in the directions of Aries-Taurus (as in 2000), Virgo (1981), and Sagittarius-Capricornus (1961 and 2020). As seen from Earth, what happens depends on where we are in our short rapid orbit. In 1981, the planets were almost simultaneously at opposition (March 26 and 27): that is, we overtook them close to the time when one was overtaking the other. So there was a magnificent triple conjunction: Jupiter appeared to overtake Saturn, retreat past it, and overtake again (Jan. 12, Feb. 19, July 30), each time passing little more than a degree to the north. On 2000 May 31 we were unfavorably near the opposite side of the Sun, and there was a single geocentric conjunction, low in the morning sky. There will be a single close conjunction in Dec. 2020, a little higher in the evening sky, and a single wider conjunction in Nov. 2040, in the morning twilight.”
By the way, the website for the new Astrpnomical Calendar should be up this afternoon.