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Happening After 800 Years: Watch Out for this 'Christmas Star’ Event

Happening After 800 Years: Watch Out for this 'Christmas Star’ Event
Representative image: Jupiter and Saturn together in the evening sky, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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After 800 years, the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter will be visible in the night sky as they come the closest to each other, only 0.1 degrees apart on the night of winter solstice

OT Staff
December 16 , 2020
01 Min Read

2020 definitely has been a rough year for all of us, but as an end-of-year treat for skywatchers, the planets are aligning in a manner that was last seen all of 800 years back. The great conjunction lies just a few days away, on the day of winter solstice. 

The rare occurrence that's being called a ‘Christmas Star’ event happens to be a planetary conjunction which will be visible in the evening sky for the next two weeks as the planets Jupitar and Saturn come together. It will culminate on the night of December 21. 

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On winter solstice, the two planets will be the nearest to each other they have ever been since 1623. It was observable as far back as 1226.

Drawing closer to each other each day, it will be on December 21 that they will only be 0.1 degrees apart.

The planets regularly appear to pass each other in the solar system every 20 years, the last one was in 2000. 

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The planets will be easy to see, look southwest in the sky after sunset. Both the planets are bright so it will be easy to spot them together. With Saturn a little fainter than Jupiter, it will appear slightly above left of Jupiter until December 21. After this, Jupiter will take over and they will reverse positions in the sky. If you have a binocular or a small telescope, do try to use it, and you may be able to see even the four large moons of Jupiter orbiting it. 

 

 


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