How To See Rare “Christmas Star” Shine Over Idaho on Winter Solstice
What is being described as the "Christmas star" will appear in the sky on the winter solstice, December 21st. It's something that hasn't happened in roughly 800 years! The two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will appear to almost merge in Earth’s night sky. Astronomers are officially calling it the Great Conjunction of 2020.
According to NASA officials, Jupiter and Saturn have been traveling together across the sky all year. In the first three weeks of December, the planets will continue to move even closer together after each sunset. On December 21st, Jupiter and Saturn will be just 0.1 degrees apart causing it to look like two large objects shining so closely together in the sky as one.
Although you definitely won't need a telescope to see this incredible rare occurrence, Astronomy.com says that the two planets will be so close that you'll be able to fit them both in the same telescopic field of view. The Great Conjunction can be seen anywhere on Earth. Depending on where you on Earth, depends on the time frame that you'll be able to catch a glimpse. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the conjunction is expected to last for 3 and a half hours starting just after 9:00 pm.
A conjunction like this hasn't been seen since the Middle Ages; a time when according to astronomy.com, "Genghis Khan was conquering large swaths of Asia, and Europe was still generations away from the Renaissance." The coolest part in my opinion is just how rare this is and the fact that it's happening on the winter solstice just 4 days before Christmas! Some astronomers even believe that the “star of Bethlehem” was a conjunction between Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
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