Planets Combining to Form Rare 'Christmas Star'

On the winter solstice of 2020, the two largest planets in our solar system will appear to almost merge in Earth's night sky

    2020/12/11

NSFW    NEW YORK — Astronomers are calling it the Great Conjunction of 2020. On December 21 — coincidentally the winter solstice — the two largest planets in our solar system will appear to almost merge in Earth's night sky.

Jupiter and Saturn will get so close in the sky that they will almost appear to merge with one another. Such a conjunction has not occurred for almost 800 years.

During the event, these two shiny gas giants will sit just 0.1 degrees apart, or a mere one-fifth the width of the Moon.

The sight will likely leave many casual observers wondering "What are those large, bright objects so close together in the sky?"

In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will be so close that you will be able to fit them both in the same telescopic field of view.

That's an incredibly rare occurrence. The last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close together was in 1226 A.D., at a time when Genghis Khan was conquering large swaths of Asia, and Europe was still generations away from the Renaissance.

The next Great Conjunction will occur in 2080. Of course, many of us won't be around then, so it would be wise to soak in this show while you can.
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