Bangalore, Jan 21: Stargazers are gearing up for a grand treat as the Moon and Jupiter will get very close tonight. Earth's lone natural satellite will first move towards the largest planet in the Solar System before inching below the latter.
Jupiter and the Moon will seem to be hardly a half a degree apart, but do not let the optical illusion mislead you. Actually the fifth planet from the Sun is far away from the dense satellite on which Neil Armstrong made the "giant leap for mankind" back in Jul 1969.
The distance between Jupiter and Earth is a staggering 6659 lakh kms. The corresponding figure for the Moon is just over 4 lakh kms.
According to astronomers, heavenly bodies often approach each other. The phenomenon is known as appulse. In fact, the Moon passing by the planets one by one is a monthly occurrence.
What makes this particular appulse extraordinary is the degree of closeness. If anybody forgets to watch the skies tonight or dark clouds obstruct one's vision, there is no need to fret since there will be a repeat in less than two months time.
On Mar 17, Jupiter will again near the Moon. And the two celestial bodies are slated to do a even more interesting tango in Aug 2016.