Jupiter and Saturn have gradually been moving closer to each other for months. Monday, December 21, the two be at their closest, around one-fifth of a full Moon apart. Close enough that many telescopes may see both planets at once in the same field.
This happens every 20-years, but this one is an especially close one.
“Well they call it a conjunction when the earth lines up with the planets, in this case we’re talking, about Saturn and Jupiter it doesn’t happen very often this case about every 20 years but to be very very close like this we call it the great conjunction. This hasn’t happened in almost eight hundred years so makes it a very rare event.”
The two gas giants will appear close, in reality they’re hundreds of millions of miles apart. It will be striking, but look fast.
“You can actually look any time right now, but it will reach it’s peak Monday evening of course that is the longest night of the year, it’s the winter solstice and you want to go out about 45 minutes after the sun goes down or about 6:15 eastern time, look in the southwestern sky you’ll see the two objects the brighter one will be Jupiter, Saturn will still be bright. You’ll be able to see it with the naked eye and you want to be out there about 6:15 eastern time up until about 7.”
This event is what some are calling the Christmas Star, comparing it to the star of Bethlehem as mentioned in the Bible. The last time the two were this close for night viewing was 12-26. The next conjunction is in 20-40, but Jupiter and Saturn won’t even become close to being this close again until 20-80.
Let’s hope for clear skies.