“Christmas Star” To Adorn The Night Sky:
On December 21, 2020, just hours after the official start of winter, an exciting event is going to take place in the night sky– a long-awaited “Great Conjunction” between Jupiter and Saturn. This event is a rare close encounter of the solar system’s two largest planets! What makes this astronomical occurrence even more special is that it will show you one of the theories attributed to the “Star of Bethlehem.”
When And Where To View
On the evening of December 21st., about 45 minutes after sunset, look low toward the southwest horizon. Jupiter will appear to Saturn’s lower left. Both planets will be close enough to see in the same field of view of a high-power eyepiece. By month’s end, the two planets, having separated to 1.2° apart, will be setting about 1 hour and 45 minutes after sunset, right at the end of evening twilight.
Jupiter and Saturn conjunction: The last time that the two planets were easily observable when separated by less than 0.1 degrees was almost 800 years ago, during the great conjunction of 1226. I should know, my kids think I was there.