By: Patricia Yap
2020 has been an eventful year. Of course, not in the ways we wanted it to be, but it was eventful and so much has happened that we just want it over with. So to end this year, planets Jupiter and Saturn are aligning to form a “Christmas Star” once again after its previous occurrence from 800 years ago.
On December 21, the day of December Solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will closely align in an almost collision like manner that will create a luminous point of light to appear in the night sky.
Needless to say, it’s gonna be breathtaking and a hopeful way to end this year.
This celestial phenomenon is known as a “great conjunction,” and was last observed on March 4, 1226. In actuality, Jupiter and Saturn do meet every 20 years but this time their alignment will be so close, they’ll only be 0.1° apart. Truly a rare sight!
Anyone on earth can fully see the brilliance of the cosmos so long as the sky one’s looking at is clear. About 45 minutes after sunset, make sure to look towards the southwest direction of the sky.
The Christmas Star will be visible for the entire fourth week of December for an hour after every sunset. Those with telescopes could even see Jupiter and Saturn’s moons orbiting for that same duration.
Visible to the naked-eye, Saturn is the slowest-moving and farthest planet in the solar system while Jupiter comes second to it. It takes Saturn 30 years to revolve around the sun while Jupiter takes around 12 years, which is why the occurrence is so rare.
According to Astrology.com, the Christmas Star or “great conjunction” marks “new growth” in traditional astrology. This means the alignment symbolizes new historical eras; a perfect way to cap of the year and enter a new one.
So, better mark your calendars for this because the next time anything like this will happen again will be in the year 2080; March 15 to be exact. Who knows if the two gas giants will even align this close by that time?
Featured photo from Dneutral Han/Getty Images