A special sky event will take place on the Winter Solstice and be visible through Christmas! Jupiter and Saturn will become closer in the night sky than they have been in our lifetime!
The orbit of these two planets brings them close to each other about every 20 years but 2020 is a special year because they will be separated by one-tenth of a degree in our evening sky! This is why you’ve probably heard this conjunction described as a “Christmas Star” Technically, these two planets will not form a new star but they will appear extremely close.
According to NASA, it has been 400 years since Jupiter and Saturn have been THIS close and about 800 years since a conjunction like this has actually happened at night! The next time will be in 2080.
Where to Look
The good news is these two have been appearing closer and closer in our night sky all month. December 21 when the conjunction will be at its greatest, head outside after sunset around 5:45 p.m.
IMPORTANT: You will want an unobstructed view of the southwestern horizon because these two planets will be pretty low in the sky. Try an open field or park. They will slowly drop below the horizon by about 7:30 p.m. so your window is small to see them!
If clouds get in your way Monday night, Tuesday looks like an even better opportunity to have clear skies. The two planets won’t appear AS close as Monday night, but it will still be fun to watch them change through the night sky that whole week!
For tips on how to get a picture of the Great Conjunction, check this out from NASA!