How To Watch the Great Conjunction, a.k.a. 2020’s ‘Christmas Star’ Cosmic Event
Jupiter and Saturn are about to appear closer in the sky than they have in 400 years.
On Monday (December 21), the planets will appear side by side for about an hour after sunset for a major astrological event, the Great Conjunction, and you will be able to see it!
By definition, conjunction is an action or an instance of two or more events or things occurring at the same point in time or space. When celestial bodies align, astronomers refer to it as a conjunction and since this one involves the solar system’s two biggest gas giants — Jupiter and Saturn — it has been coined the “great conjunction.”
Since the event is landing on Winter Solstice and during a holiday week, many have begun calling the formation the “Christmas Star." The timing is merely a coincidence, though, based on the orbits of the planets and the tilt of the Earth, NASA says.
According to The AstroTwins, the Great Conjunction could set off a powerful wave of humanitarian efforts, power-to-the-people uprisings and science developments.
Weather depending, you can attempt to see the once-in-a-lifetime, extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
What time will the Great Conjunction take place?
An hour after sunset.
Where should I go to watch the Great Conjunction?
NASA suggests finding a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. The space administration notes that Jupiter and Saturn will be so bright that they will be able to be seen from most cities.
Where in the sky should I look for the Great Conjunction?
Look to the southwestern sky.
Will I need binoculars or a telescope to see the Great Conjunction?
The planets can be seen with the unaided eye, but if you have binoculars or a small telescope you may be able to see Jupiter’s four large moons orbiting the giant planet.
What will the Great Conjunction look like?
Jupiter will be the clearer planet of the two, since it is closer to Earth, with Saturn just next to it. They will appear so close that a pinkie finger at arm’s length will easily cover both planets in the sky.
How close will Jupiter and Saturn be during the Great Conjunction?
From our vantage point on Earth, the planets will appear very close together but they will actually be hundreds of millions of miles apart in space.
For those unable to access ideal viewing locations or who don’t have access to binoculars and telescopes, several planetariums have set up online streaming options to see the event up close.