After sunset on the evening of December 21, 2020, Jupiter And Saturn planet Since the Middle Ages the Earth would appear closer together in the night sky, offering people the world over celestial healing to ring in the winter solstice.
Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan said, “The alignment between these two planets occurs once every 20 years, but this combination is exceptionally rare as the planets get closer to each other.” “You have to go back just before dawn on 4 March 1226 to get a closer look between these objects visible in the night sky.”
Jupiter and Saturn have been approaching each other in the Earth’s sky since summer. From 16–25 December, the two will be separated by less than a full moon diameter.
“On the evening of the closest approach on December 21, they would look like a dual planet, only 1/5 times the diameter of the full moon,” said Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and many of their largest moons will appear in the field of view that same evening.”
Although the best viewing conditions would be near the equator, the event would be viewable anywhere on Earth, weather-permitting. Hartigan said that the planet sky would be less visible in the western sky for about an hour after sunset each evening.
“The further north an audience is, the less time they have to catch a glimpse of the conjunctions before the planets sink below the horizon,” he said. Fortunately, the planets can be seen with bright vision, which may be the best time for many American viewers to observe the conjunction.
“By the time the sky in Houston becomes completely dark, for example, the combination will be just 9 degrees above the horizon,” Hartigan said. “If the weather cooperates and you have an unobstructed view in the southwest, it will be manageable to watch.”
But one hour after sunset, people looking up to the sky in New York or London will find the planets closer to the horizon, 7.5 degrees and 5.3 degrees respectively. He said that spectators and in similar latitudes would do well after sunset as soon as possible to catch a glimpse of rare astronomical sight.
Those who like to wait and watch Jupiter and Saturn up close and high in the night sky will have to stick around until March 15, 2080, Hartigan said. After that, the pair would not make such an appearance until sometime after the year 2400.