The two planets may appear as a bright point of light when viewed with the naked eye, a sight some stargazers describe as an elongated star or double planet.
The celestial phenomenon occurs because the planets are in line as viewed from Earth. Beginning at 7 P.M. EST on December 21, Lowell astronomers and educators will share spectacular live views of Jupiter and Saturn through observatory telescopes while discussing the nature of conjunctions.
"People have these kinds of moving experiences the first time they look at Jupiter and Saturn through a telescope because they will look just like they do in pictures". You have to go allllll the way back to July 16, 1623 to find one closer (5.2' apart), though that particular conjunction was much lower in the sky and much more hard to spot, at just 13 degrees from the Sun. "So how exciting is it?" If you have binoculars or even a small telescope, you are in for a better treat and may be able to spot Jupiter's moons.More news: Italy set to start covid-19 vaccine campaign by end of 2020
But for now, telescopes will be cleaned up and aimed at the southwest horizon for a chance to witness history. In the coming days, starting at about 45 minutes after sunset, you should be able to catch the action in the southwestern sky as the two largest planets come within kissing distance. But on December 21, they will be a mere 1/10th of a degree apart. This happens to be the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year.
Jupiter's and Saturn's 12- and 29-year orbits bring them together in what has become known as the "Christmas Star", making them appear brighter than they have in hundreds of years.
Saturn will be slightly fainter than Jupiter and hang just up and to the left of the gas giant.
The last time these two planets were positioned like this it was only a quarter of the way through the 13th century.More news: The Cyberpunk 2077 refund situation is a mess
Since they haven't been seen appearing so close together for almost 800 years, we can not be sure how it will look.
Though the timing of its very closest approach favors longitudes centered on Europe and Africa, you can see the two getting closer night-by-night worldwide this week, going into this weekend.
Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia.
"You've got about an hour of decent viewing". Saturn, which has a golden glow, is just to the east of Jupiter.More news: Michigan Football Game Has Been Canceled
Use a tripod - if you don't have one, keep your camera steady by leaning on something solid, like a fence or auto. More than this and the Earth's rotation will smear out the planets and stars. "Jupiter is 33 arcseconds (") across on the night of the conjunction, while Saturn is 36" (with rings) from tip-to-tip.