- Jupiter and Saturn aligning this holiday week to form “Christmas Star”
- December 21, shortest day and longest night of 2020, would be a great night to see the “Christmas Star”
- Celebrate the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, and the “Christmas Star” together on December 21. All you have to do is simply look up into the night sky.
The two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will look like they’re almost touching on December 21.
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This year, the nearly perfect alignment of the two largest gas giants in our solar system (what astronomers call a “great conjunction”) is coming to us not only on the winter solstice but also during our holiday week. Because this celestial event is “landing” on our holiday week, many are calling what will look like a double bright planet the “Christmas Star.”
Jupiter and Saturn haven’t come this closely together since March 4, 1226. But this year, Jupiter and Saturn are aligning on December 21, the winter solstice, when the light in the sky will be at its brightest and we’ll be able to see this phenomenon most clearly.
Jupiter and Saturn are already visible on the southwest horizon after sunset so you can watch them coming into alignment throughout this week. (Just get binoculars or a small telescope, find the moon and look to the right to scan the planets.) As they form “almost” together, they will actually be separated by one-fifth the diameter of a full moon and will be four times the distance between the Earth and the sun.
You’ll have to wait for the next great conjunction with a similar proximity to us on earth until 2080 so celebrate and enjoy now the winter solstice and the “Christmas Star” together on December 21. And celebrate and enjoy Christmas and Chanukah throughout the holiday season. Best wishes.
Thanks to KTLA 5 in Los Angeles, Space.com and NASA.
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