"Christmas Star" visible this week

Katie Ramirez
December 26, 2020

This year's extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will not be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.

The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226.

With the astronomical event known as a "Great Conjunction" taking place at night, almost everyone around the world will be able to see it.

Heavy rainfall ahead of possible white Christmas in the GTA
Impressive snowfall totals were measured in Tennessee and North Carolina, where up to 6 inches accumulated. Parts of northern Scotland are now under a yellow snow and ice warning until 11am today (December 24).

When the NAC captured this image of the two planets, Jupiter was about four times brighter than Saturn, so the brightness of the original image was adjusted to make both equally visible. In our perspective, the two giant planets appear only a tenth of a degree apart, when in reality they are about 450 million miles apart.

"Conjunctions like this could happen on any day of the year, depending on where the planets are in their orbits", said Throop. To look for the double-planet conjunction, go outside shortly after sunset and look low in the southwestern sky. "In this case, the star of Bethlehem idea may very well just have been a great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which is bright and brilliant and no one would be missing it". Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky. Jupiter's weather belts and Saturn's rings are easily visible. "From our vantage point, we'll be able to be to see Jupiter on the inside lane, approaching Saturn all month and finally overtaking it on December 21". The planets will easily be visible to the naked eye.

Want to learn more about planetary conjunctions?

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