Jupiter and Saturn are about to have a reunion in the sky and we’re all invited to watch.
Jupiter and Saturn are set to line up together for the first time in nearly 800 years. The two planets have been approaching for months and between December 16 – 25, they will become so close that they’ll form a double planet! It’s a Christmas miracle. During this period, the planets will be separated by less than a quarter of the diameter of the full moon. And just after sunset on December 21, we will be able to witness this rare meeting for ourselves.
Rice University astronomer, Patrick Hartigan, explained that the “Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another.” For context, the last time they were anywhere near this close was all the way back in 1226. Essentially, this is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting and you definitely won’t want to miss it.
Assuming the sky is cloud-free on the night of the 21st, this incredible meeting should be visible to just about anyone on Earth. According to the experts, you’re in with the best chance of spotting the double-planet about an hour after sunset. While the naked eye should capture the planets, telescope users will also be able to see their largest moons. Guess I know what I’m asking Santa for for Christmas.
If you happen to miss the rare alignment, you’ll have to wait another 70 years for it to reoccur. So why not carpe noctem this time round? After sunset on December 21, head outside, look up and with any luck, you’ll see the two planets join forces.
“Alexa, play When Two Become One by the Spice Girls.”