Upon what shall we gaze?

December 18, 2020
credit: Getty images

“The Solar System’s two largest planets are on course to “collide” in an exceedingly rare event not seen since the Middle Ages.

On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will come so close together that they will look like a “double planet,” a conjunction that will appear to us on Earth like one super-bright point of light.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to be to one another,” Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University, told Forbes. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

Related: How to Host a Stargazing Party

This incredible phenomenon has been known historically as the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem.”

In fact, it’s theorized by many that the fabled star in the story of the Three Wise Men could have been a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus.

Hoping to catch a peek of the “great conjunction” yourself? According to Forbes, the event will be observable anywhere where skies are clear for about an hour after sunset on December 21, the Winter Solstice. Be sure to mark your calendars, a conjunction this close won’t happen again until March 15, 2080!”

from Southern Living


  1. Hope you’ll get to see it? Nice post. I’ve been out by the bay every night brrr 🥶

    • Thanks – I hope so, too, but my prospects are not good. Low humidity in the winter should make night-time sky viewing good, but with so many overcast days . . . well, no.

  2. Go out each night that’s clear. We’ve seen them getting closer and closer (even in the outskirts of a city).

  3. Thanks! I’ll keep trying!

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