Professor Hartigan revealed how between December 16 to 25, the duo will be separated by less than the diameter of a Full Moon. Jupiter and Saturn will appear just after sunset, so close together that they might look like companions. The last time the two giant planets aligned like this was 800 years ago!
Patrick Hartigan of Rice University says everyone in the world will be able to see Jupiter and Saturn come together so closely they will look like a "double planet" on December 21. To contextualise their speed, it takes the Earth one year to orbit the Sun while Jupiter takes 12 years and Saturn 30 years to make the same orbit.
The rare occurrence will happen after sunset on December 21, 2020, the start of the winter solstice. "On the morning of March 4, 1226, you must return to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky". The image is adapted from graphics by open-source planetarium software Stellarium.More news: SpaceX Starlink Launch: Record-Breaking Mission Scrubbed but New Schedule Expects Hope
'Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, ' said astronomer Patrick Hartigan of Rice University of Houston, Texas.
Performing an act not seen since the year 1226; they will appear as a double planet after sunset on December 21. But the best visibility will come about an hour after sunset - when the planets will appear low in the western sky - and will look better nearer the equator.
"For most telescope viewers, each planet and its many large moons will appear in the same evening view".More news: Charles Darwin notebooks 'stolen' from Cambridge library
The best spots to observe this phenomenon would be in the equatorial regions.
The final major celestial moment of 2020 is expected to happen on the longest night of the year - the winter solstice.
Stargazers, be prepared for an incredibly rare event, because according to astronomers, the planets of Jupiter and Saturn have been converging in the night sky since the Middle Ages. Fortunately, the planets will be bright enough to be viewed in twilight, which may be the best time for many USA viewers to observe the conjunction.More news: Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco plant damages oil tank
'Viewing that would be manageable if the weather cooperates and you have an unobstructed view to the southwest'.