Jupiter and Saturn will appear to be so close from Earth on Dec. 21 that they may look like one shining star.
Look up at the night sky on Dec. 21 and you may see something special.
The planets of JUPITER and SATURN will appear (weather-permitting) on the winter solstice to be so close from Earth that they may look like one shining star, even though they’ll actually be 450 million miles apart.
The so-called “Great Conjunction ” last happened in 1623 but could not be seen from Earth. Before that, the phenomenon previously occurred on March 4, 1226.
2020’s celestial event has been christened by some as the “Christmas Star,” due to its proximity to Christmas Day.
“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University.
“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”