Look to the south-west sky on the evening of December 21st, 2020 to see the Jupiter and Saturn great conjunction.
These are the largest planets in our solar system. A cosmic play of orbital motions and speeds have these gas giants meet up on the same side of Sun every 20 years. When this happens we see them from Earth coming together as a pairing in the night sky.
This conjunction though is very rare. This time the two planets will appear so close to each other (0.1 degree apart), that they will look like one bright star! The last time they were this close together was nearly 800 years ago.
Some are calling it the “Christmas Star” or “Solstice Star”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s sure to be a spectacular sight in the night sky after dark.
Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years. But a Great Conjunction this close is much more rare spanning hundreds of years. A conjunction occurs when planets appear very close to one another in the sky because they line up with Earth in their orbits around the Sun.
On the evening of December 16th, look for the young crescent Moon to join Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky.
Keep looking up stargazers and mark your calendar for December 21st!
My story began more than 40 years ago looking up at the Moon with a small telescope my Father had. Encouraged by my parents, who bought me my very own telescope, a 4.5″ reflector, I began to explore the night sky from my family home backyard. Today I do astrophotography from my home in Kitchener, Ontario and also with remote telescopes located in New Mexico and Australia. Some of my images have won awards and have been featured online and in magazines.