Jupiter and Saturn to have closest visible encounter in nearly 800 years

Dec 7 2020, 10:45 pm

Keep your eyes on the skies this month.

During the first three weeks of December, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in the sky than they have in the past 20 years.

The celestial event, according to NASA, is called a “great conjunction,” where the orbits of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn align for a period of time, causing both Jupiter and Saturn to appear remarkably close together during the nighttime.


A closeup of Jupiter, Saturn, Io, and Callisto through binoculars (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“Jupiter and Saturn have been travelling across the sky together all year, but this month, get ready for them to really put on a show,” says the space agency.

NASA adds that the pinnacle of the event will be on December 21, when “the two giant planets will appear just a tenth of a degree apart.”


Saturn and Jupiter will be just a tenth of a degree apart on December 21, 2020 (Nasa/JPL-Caltech).

And while a great conjunction may occur every two decades, NASA says that “this is the ‘greatest’ great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn for the next 60 years.”

Not only that, but according to the New York Times, “this one will be the closest visible encounter” between the two planets since “the Middle Ages, in 1226.”

Stargazers will have the opportunity to see the planets and their respective moons in close proximity with either binoculars or a small telescope.

The next time the two planets will appear this close will be 2080, so keep your eyes peeled.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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