Jupiter and Saturn will come close enough to form first ‘double planet’ visible in nearly 800 years

In the complex dance of the solar system, two celestial bodies about to partner up.



a star filled sky with Gallery Arcturus in the background: Jupiter and Saturn have been appearing increasingly closer in the night sky, and they will appear to overlap as a “double planet” on Dec. 21.


Jupiter and Saturn have been appearing increasingly closer in the night sky, and they will appear to overlap as a “double planet” on Dec. 21.

Jupiter and Saturn often look far apart — two separate specks puncturing different parts of the night sky. But later this month, the two largest planets in the solar system will come so close to each other that they may appear to be overlapping, according to NASA, creating a kind of “double planet” that has not been visible since the Middle Ages.

Loading...

Load Error

Skywatch: What’s happening in the heavens in December

The once-in-a-lifetime sight is the product of an astronomical event known as a “conjunction,” in which two objects line up with each other in the sky. When it involves Jupiter and Saturn catching up to each other, it’s

Read More

Jupiter and Saturn will look like a double planet later this month

So, there are some things to look forward to in the final month of 2020.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned in our sky that they will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction.
“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said Rice University astronomer and professor of physics and astronomy Patrick Hartigan in a statement.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

If you’re a stargazer, you’ve likely noticed Jupiter and Saturn have been getting closer together since the summer. And they’re currently visible in our

Read More

Animal Planet, HGTV enter streaming arena as Discovery launches new service

Discovery Communications, the cable TV home of Shark Week, the Oprah Winfrey Network and reality hits “90 Day Fiancé,” “Property Brothers” and “Dr. Pimple Popper,” is launching a direct-to-consumer streaming service that will make its programming available to consumers without a pay TV subscription.



Beau Henderson, Jonathan Silver Scott standing in a kitchen: A couple see their new kitchen for the first time as Drew and Jonathan Scott give them a tour on HGTV's "Property Brothers." (Caitlin Cronenberg)


© (Caitlin Cronenberg)
A couple see their new kitchen for the first time as Drew and Jonathan Scott give them a tour on HGTV’s “Property Brothers.” (Caitlin Cronenberg)

The service, called Discovery+, will launch Jan. 4, the New York-based company announced Wednesday. It will carry programming from Discovery’s wide range of channels, which include TLC, OWN, Investigative Discovery, Animal Planet and Food Network.

Through a partnership deal with A&E Television Networks, Discovery+ also will offer nonfiction shows from Lifetime, History Channel and A&E.

Discovery is entering a crowded field as media conglomerates such as the Walt Disney Co., WarnerMedia and Comcast have made their programs and

Read More

Mars colonists could get fuel and oxygen from water on the Red Planet

Colonists on Mars could one day generate fuel and oxygen from saltwater on the Red Planet, a new study finds.



An artist's illustration of astronauts mining water on Mars.


© Provided by Space
An artist’s illustration of astronauts mining water on Mars.

The novel technology behind this advance could also help submarines generate oxygen from seawater on Earth, researchers said.

In order to live on Mars, any potential colonists will need oxygen to breathe and fuels such as hydrogen gas to power their equipment. Any water they find on the Red Planet will therefore prove invaluable, as they can use electricity and other methods to break water down into both hydrogen and oxygen.

Related: How living on Mars could challenge colonists (infographic) 

“Mars is a long way out there, and we are limited in the amount of stuff we can bring with us, so if we can utilize resources already present there, that’s more economical and more viable

Read More

Jupiter and Saturn to form ultra-rare ‘double planet’ this December

Winter solstice is around the corner and with it comes a rare and spectacular phenomenon in the night sky.

On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will align to form a “double planet,” an occurrence that hasn’t happened in nearly 800 years, according to Deborah Byrd and Bruce McClure with Earth Sky.

HEAR A SOUND BITE FROM SPACE: Hear a sound bite from NASA’s Perseverance as it travels along the final frontier  

You may have already noticed the sky seems a little brighter these last few weeks. That’s because from Nov. 16 to 21, the two planets started

Read More

Solar power stations in space could help save the planet

Solar-space-station.Getty Images

The UK government is considering a plan to build mile-wide solar power stations in space that can send beams of energy back down to Earth.

The plans involve five huge stations floating 24,000 miles above the planet, each weighing several thousand tonnes – that’s heavier than 20 blue whales, the world’s largest animal!

Each solar power station would be made from tens of thousands of smaller pieces, needing 200 separate rocket launches to send the pieces into space, where they will be put together by robots.

If this all sounds very futuristic, that’s because it is. It’s hoped the stations will generate 15 per cent of the country’s electricity supply by the year 2050, that’s enough power for four million UK homes.

Speaking about the plans, government science minister Amanda Solloway said: “Solar space stations may sound like science fiction, but they could be a game-changing new source

Read More

We Have No Idea What Makes A Planet ‘Potentially Habitable’

One of the most compelling scientific goals humanity has set for itself is to find extraterrestrial life: biological activity originating and continuing to occur on a world beyond Earth. It isn’t just our imaginations that have run wild with this possibility, it’s that we have a lot of indirect evidence identifying other potential locations where life could have arisen through similar processes to whatever occurred on Earth in our past. If we compare what’s out there with our expectations for what life requires, there’s a lot that appears to make sense.

While it might be a

Read More

Home away from home planet

Image: Home away from home planet
Credit: ESA/NASA

As a month of celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation of the International Space Station draws to a close, we look back on the first mission of the next ESA astronaut to travel to the Space Station, Thomas Pesquet.


The ESA astronaut of French nationality lived and worked on the Space Station for 196 days during his first mission, Proxima, between November 2016 and June 2017. Thomas is one of 18 European astronauts to have spent time on board and will return for his Alpha missionin spring 2021.

Thomas is seen here working in the European Columbus laboratory that was launched to the Station in February 2008.

The Columbus laboratory is Europe’s largest single contribution to the International Space Station. Permanently attached to the Harmony module, this pressurized laboratory allows researchers on the ground, aided by the Station’s crew, to conduct a wide variety of research in

Read More

How to see Jupiter and Saturn align in rare double planet conjunction

  • Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky on December 21. It’ll be the closest they’ve appeared in 800 years.
  • The two planets move into alignment, or conjunction, every 20 years. But this year, they will be so close that they’ll look like a “double planet.”
  • The last time Saturn and Jupiter were both this close and visible was in 1226.
  • Here are the best ways to see this conjunction.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jupiter and Saturn are about to line up perfectly in the night sky — the two planets will get so close on December 21 that they seem to touch. 

The last time they looked this close from Earth’s vantage point was nearly 800 years ago, on March 4, 1226.

An astronomical event in which celestial bodies align is called a conjunction. Since this conjunction involves the two biggest gas giants in our

Read More

Ancient zircon minerals from Mars reveal the elusive internal structure of the red planet — ScienceDaily

The uranium-bearing mineral zircon is an abundant constituent of Earth’s continental crust, providing information about the age and origin of the continents and large geological features such as mountain chains and giant volcanoes. But unlike Earth, Mars’s crust is not evolved and is compositionally similar to the crust found under the Earth’s oceans, where zircon is rare. Therefore, zircon is not expected to be a common mineral on Mars.

“We were quite surprised and excited when we found so many zircons in this martian meteorite. Zircon are incredible durable crystals that can be dated and preserve information that tell us about their origins. Having access to so many zircons is like opening a time window into the geologic history of planet,” describes Professor Martin Bizzarro from the GLOBE Institute, who led the study.

The team investigated the ancient Martian meteorite NWA 7533, dubbed “Black Beauty,” which was discovered in the

Read More