Title text: The IAU is sad to announce that at 00:39 UTC on December 22nd, Jupiter and Saturn did unfortunately come into contact, and appear to have blooped together.
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Cueball and Ponytail are observing the 2020 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. This is similar to other comparisons between expectation and reality. The expectation is that the scientists will remain professional through the event, testing Einstein's theory of General Relativity and using technical terms such as arcminute, while the reality is that they actually treat the event quite whimsically.
The title text references the misconception that the planets physically get very close at conjunction, rather than merely appearing to do so. If they really did come into contact and "blooped together", most of the mass would stay collected as an extremely hot and turbulent blob that would eventually settle down as a new planet, but more than a bit would be spewed outwards. The possible outcomes vary enormously, depending on factors such as how direct the impact was, and its alignment relative to the planets' spins. However, while such a collision would be preceded by a conjunction, a conjunction does not necessarily indicate an imminent collision, as not all planets are the same distance from Earth.
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- What people imagine astronomers observing a conjunction are like
- [Cueball and Ponytail are both looking through telescopes]
- Cueball: 6.15 arcminutes!
- Ponytail: Stupendous! This confirms Einstein!
- What they're actually like
- Cueball: Wow! Look how close they are!
- Ponytail: It's so cool!
- Cueball: Now kiiiisssss!!
- Ponytail: Dooo iiit!
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