Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry enjoyed a romantic night of stargazing on Monday, joining thousands of others in spotting the Grand Conjunction.
The couple, who welcomed their daughter Daisy Dove in August, shared their excitement as they spotted the phenomenon, which saw Jupiter and Saturn closer in the night sky than they have been for centuries.
Orlando had some impressive equipment ready for the stargazing, posting Instagram photos of the couple peering through a huge telescope.
Stars stargazing: Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry enjoyed a romantic night of stargazing on Monday, joining thousands of others in spotting the Grand Conjunction
The British actor shared a series of photos of the couple with the telescope as well as what they saw, explaining in his caption:
‘It’s called The Great Conjunction seen the closest since July 16th 1623 only 14 years after the first telescope was invented. As seen here, taken by my iPhone thru this real big telescope.
The star also shared an impressive shot he captured of the moon as well Katy gazing through the telescope, writing the romantic caption: ‘Also – my moon looking at the moon.’
‘Just a reminder of how tiny we are in the great scheme of things.’
Rare event: The couple shared their excitement as they spotted the phenomenon, which saw Jupiter and Saturn closer in the night sky than they have been for centuries
Sweet: Orlando had some impressive equipment ready for the stargazing, posting Instagram photos of the couple peering through a huge telescope
Jupiter and Saturn were closer in the night sky than they have been for centuries in a spectacle some astronomers believe could have been thought of as the star of Bethlehem followed by the three wise men.
The planets were in alignment on Monday night and will remain so for the rest of this week as the solar system’s two biggest planets appeared to meet in a celestial event that astronomers call the ‘Great Conjunction.’
The near convergence of the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn coincides with Monday’s winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
Fan: The British actor shared a series of photos of the couple with the telescope as well as what they saw, explaining in his caption: ‘It’s called The Great Conjunction’
In awe: ‘Just a reminder of how tiny we are in the great scheme of things,’ the actor shared
German astronomer, Johannes Kepler, wrote in 1614 that he believed the ‘star of Bethlehem’ in the Nativity story could have been a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
The star guided the three wise men to meet baby Jesus.
Others have suggested that the ‘three wise men’ could have been following a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.
While Venus won’t be visible as part of the 2020 conjunction, it will still be an impressive astronomical site, best viewed on the equator but seen worldwide.
Impressive: Orlando revealed he snapped some photos on his iPhone through the telescope
Great shot! Orlando also posted a photo of the moon, telling his followers: ‘Also – the moon cos I managed to get a great shot’
The best viewing conditions on Monday were in clear skies and close to the Equator, while people in Western Europe and along a vast swathe of Africa had to train their sight to the southwest.
But hundreds of stargazers also gathered in Kolkata to watch – through a telescope at a technology museum in the city, or from surrounding rooftops and open areas.
And in Kuwait, astrophotographers travelled into the desert west of Kuwait City to capture the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Joining thousands of others: People gather, in Tulsa, Oklahoma to view the ‘Great Conjunction’. the near convergence of the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn
Looking with a telescope or even a good pair of binoculars, the two gas giants were separated by no more than a fifth of the diameter of a full moon.
But with the naked eye, they would merge into a ‘highly luminous’ double planet, said Florent Deleflie from the Paris Observatory.
‘The Grand Conjunction refers to the period when two planets have relatively similar positions in relation to Earth,’ said Deleflie.
‘With a small instrument – even a small pair of binoculars – people can see Jupiter’s equatorial bands and its main satellites and Saturn’s rings.’
Star of Bethlehem? It is believed the celestial event could have been the star seen by the three wise men as they went to visit Jesus in the bible
Jupiter is the largest, brightest object, with Saturn to its right. Aligned with Jupiter are its four largest (”Galilean”) moons. From top to bottom they are Callisto, Io, Ganymede,and Europa. The Great Conjunction 2020, Laguna Beach, California
Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer to each other in the sky than they have in the last 800 years — forming a celestial beacon akin to the ‘Star of Bethlehem’. The phenomenon will be on display until Christmas
Henry Throop, an astronomer at National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters in Washington, suggested stargazers think of the two planets as being on a racetrack, with each in its own lane.
‘From our vantage point, we can see Jupiter on the inside lane, approaching Saturn all month and finally overtaking it on December 21,’ Throop said.
How close will the two planets appear to be? About one-tenth of a degree apart, which is about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length, NASA said. In reality, of course, the planets will remain hundreds of millions of miles apart, it said.
The conjunction of the two planets takes place about once every 20 years. But the last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close was in 1623, and that passing was not visible from most places on Earth.
The next time that Jupiter and Saturn will seem as close in the sky will not be until March 15, 2080 — at which time they will be higher in the sky and visible for longer