Kepler's planetary conjunction, 1603

Kepler's planetary conjunction, 1603

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Kepler's planetary conjunction. Artwork published in 1606 showing the conjunction (close appearance) of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in December 1603, observed by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Jupiter and Saturn (centre) are represented by symbols, with Saturn above Jupiter. Another astronomical symbol is at left, above a church. Kepler observed the conjunction in the morning sky in the constellation Sagittarius. The following year, 1604, he observed a massing (another type of grouping) of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and a supernova between Jupiter and Saturn. He published his observations (and this artwork) in De Stella Nova (1606). In 1614, Kepler suggested that a similar sequence of events accounted for the Star of Bethlehem in 6-7 BC.

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