The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn — in case, like me, you missed it

Like many people living in the Northern Hemisphere, the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in late December 2020 was hidden behind a mass of boring cloud. The only view of the event I got to see was a secondhand blurry image made available on Wikipedia by user KSPFanatic102 under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license.

I got to wondering what the conjunction on the winter solstice would have looked like if I had been able to see it through a really powerful instrument, like the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Maybe I could create some sort of mosaic image based on other higher-resolution images?

It turns out that there are many high resolution images of the individual planets and their moons in the public domain. Using the original image as a template, I set about replacing each blurred planet and moon with an appropriately rotated, scaled down, de-saturated, high-resolution image, lightened or darkened to match the planet or moon’s correct albedo.

As the actual conjunction occurred in Sagittarius, I took the liberty of adding a faint but appropriate starry background. The resulting image is, I believe, as close as possible to what you would have seen if it was possible to “look through” as powerful a scope as the Hubble in orbit:

The 2020 Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, ultra high resolution astronomy mosaic.

In the composite image we see Jupiter bottom right with, from right to left, its moons Europa, Io, and Ganymede. Top left we see Saturn with, above it, its moon Titan. In close-up you can see the planets and moons in high-resolution:

Close up Jupiter with Io and Ganymede during the Great Conjunction 2020.

Astronomy is a deep passion of mine and I love to contribute to its great body of knowledge in anyway I can. If anyone is interested, I have made this image is available as a poster, a print, and in various other forms in my Redbubble shop.

10 Beautiful Space & Astronomy Gifts

Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!

Space is fascinating, educational and entertaining! We marvel at the asteroids, comets, moons, planets, stars and galaxies. We wonder about all that is to be discovered across our vast universe. And space science provides us with some of the most gorgeous images ever captured by mankind. Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!

1. The Horsehead Nebula in Orion Wall Poster

An eye-catching and gorgeous wall poster featuring the Barnard 3 nebula in the constellation of Orion, based on a photograph taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Perfect for dorms, bedrooms, offices, studios, classrooms, or anywhere blank walls aren’t welcome, Printed on 185gsm semi gloss poster paper. Size 99.3 x 84.3 cm (including a 5mm white boarder). Available in other sizes and on 50 more products. Available on Redbubble

2. The Crab Nebula Chiffon Top

A bright and beautiful addition to any wardrobe, this stunning image of the Crab Nebula was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Available in a wide range of sizes, this garment’s front panel is edge-to-edge custom printed using a sublimation transfer print technique that embeds dye into the fabric allowing it to stay soft and drape. Option of black or white back panel, sleeves and binding. Slightly sheer 100% Polyester chiffon with silky hand-feel, ideal for wearing as a layering piece. Loose cropped boxy style fit. Available on Redbubble

3. The Tarantula Nebula iPad Case

A stunning and colorful iPad case featuring the famous Tarantula nebula in Dorado, based on an original Hubble telescope photograph. Slim impact resistant poly-carbonate case with protective lip. Design wraps around the sides of the case and the colors are embedded directly into the case. Case allows full access to device ports. Fits 4th, 3rd, and 2nd iPad models, as well as model numbers A1395, A1396, A1397, A1403, A1416, A1430, A1458, A1459, A1460. Thickness 3/64 inch (1mm), weight 35g. Also available as a form-fitting removable vinyl decal with laminate top coat iPad skin, and on 50 more products. Available on Redbubble.

4. Galactic Center Throw Blanket

A rich and glorious throw blanket featuring the heart of the Milky Way, based on radio and x-rays images from the Chandra X-ray and MeerKAT observatories. The throw blanket is 100% polyester fleece with soft, fluffy hand-feel. Printed on front with ivory colored back. Edge-to-edge sublimation print. Machine washable. Available in small (101 x 76cm), medium (152 x 127cm) and large (203 x 152cm) sizes. Also available on 75 more products. Available on Redbubble.

5. Horsehead Nebula Close Up Throw Pillow

An stunning close up photo of the famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion. This vibrant double-sided print floor pillow cover is a versatile seating or lounging option that will update any room. Durable 100% spun polyester cushion cover. 90 x 90cm. Fills must be purchased separately for this floor pillow. Concealed zip opening for a clean look and easy care. This image is available on 75 other products too. Available on Redbubble

6. “Pale Blue Dot” Framed Print

“Pale Blue Dot” is a famous photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 from 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) by the Voyager 1 space probe at the request of famous scientist, writer and Cosmos presenter Carl Sagan. The Earth is shown as a tiny blue speck against a ray of sunlight. This image is available as a framed print in three sizes. The print itself measures 23.9 x 20.3cm, 35.9 x 30.5cm or 47.9 x 40.7 cm. Both box and flat frame styles are available and the frame is a high-quality timber frame finishes to suit your decor. Premium perspex completes the frame – clearer and lighter than glass. Available on Redbubble

7. Earthrise Over the Moon Tote Bag

This elegant tote bag features the image of the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon that was captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as it orbited the Moon. The tote bag is a durable, easy-to-carry shopping bag with sublimated print on both sides and is available in small, medium and large sizes. It has a super strong 1 inch (2.5cm) wide cotton shoulder strap and is made from soft yet durable 100% spun polyester poplin fabric. Gentle machine wash. This image is also available on a cotton tote bag and 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

8. BOSS Great Wall Graphic T-Shirt

This wonderful and unique T-shirt features the “Great Wall” imaged by the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey mapping project. The front panel is edge-to-edge printed using a sublimation transfer technique for crisp, bold colors. The printed front panel is 96% polyester, 4% spandex. Solid color back panel, sleeves and neck bind are 100% cotton. This amazing image is also available on 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

9. The Pillars of Creation Duvet Cover

A fabulous bed covering featuring the “Pillars of Creation”, the amazing clouds of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula in the Serpens constellation, some 6,500–7,000 light years from Earth. This machine-washable duvet cover has a vivid, full color print on the front, white on the back. 100% polyester top, 50% cotton / 50% polyester back. Concealed zipper opening and internal insert ties for easy assembly. Available in multiple sizes from twin to king. Twin size (173 x 224 cm) fits most extra long dorm beds. Duvet insert not included. Available on Redbubble

10. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation A-Line Dress

This beautiful dress pattern comes from the CMBR, the electromagnetic radiation remnant from an early stage of the universe. This faint cosmic background radiation fills all space. The dress has a loose swing shape for an easy, flowing fit. Sizes run large, so order a size down from your usual. Print covers entire front and back panel. 97% polyester, 3% elastane woven dress fabric with silky hand-feel. This pattern is available on 50 other products. Available on Redbubble

These and many many more space and astronomy-themed products can be found in the Astronomy Collection in the Tiokvadrat store on Redbubble. Available products include colorful astronomy design for tops, t-shirts, skirts, scarves, leggings, socks, bags, phone cases, covers, mugs, notebooks, coasters, cushions, pillows, duvets, mats, blankets, clocks, prints, shower curtains. Perfect gift idea for astronomy and space sciences loving boy, girl, friend, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, colleague, or the office. Happy shopping!

A Flower Under a Darkening Sky

A Flower Under a Darkening Sky.
Acrylic on Canvas.
Chris Hughes (2012)

This acrylic work was produced late in 2012 just as the Swedish winter started to bite. We were already looking forward to the Spring and its early crocuses, but that was still many months away. Like many winter paintings my palette turns dark as the evenings closes in. In spring my palette lightens considerably and warms towards oranges, yellows and reds.

This original acrylic artwork was one of the first of this type to be uploaded to Redbubble. RedBubble likes large images but we were limited somewhat by the original scan size, so we achieved only 4634 x 6266 pixels after limited enlargement which are rather awkward dimensions to try to use on Redbubble products and led to some compromises. Usually we aim for at least 7632 x 6480 pixels.

Nevertheless, some products really shone with this work as design. As is typical, both throw pillows and floor pillows (cushions) worked well:

Floor pillow, available on Redbubble