The Great Conjunction: Saturn, Jupiter align to create ‘Christmas Star’ Dec. 21
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -About every 20 years, Saturn and Jupiter’s orbits align in a “Great Conjunction”. In astronomy the word “conjunction” is used to describe the alignment of two planets or celestial objects so they look to be in the same place in the sky.
This year, the Great Conjunction culminates on December 21st – which just happens to be the Winter Solstice! On the longest night of the year, the two largest planets in our solar system will appear within a tenth of a degree apart. This bright planetary conjunction is commonly known as the “Christmas Star”.
According to NASA, this year’s astronomical spectacle is so special because: “It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night.”
Jupiter and Saturn are both very bright planets, so you should be able to see them with the naked eye - even in cities with light pollution. Look to the southwest sky about an hour after sunset! Jupiter will be the brighter star, with Saturn above and fainter than Jupiter. The two planets will inch closer and closer to each other before aligning on Monday. After the conjunction on the 21st, the two will reverse positions.
At this time the weather looks dry and mostly clear for our viewing Monday night!
For more on the Great Conjunction, visit NASA’s website: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn
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