Jupiter and Saturn will appear to come together in the night sky this evening, as the two bright planets closely align and Jupiter overtakes Saturn, from our vantage point, in its orbit around the Sun.
It’s an astronomical event known as the “Great Conjunction.” It’s also popularly known as the “Christmas Star,” according to NASA.
Tonight (Monday, December 21) will be the culmination of the planetary conjunction.
NASA said the planets regularly appear to pass each other in the solar system, and their positions are aligned in the sky about once every 20 years.
This conjunction is different because it’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, NASA said. Nearly everyone around the world will be able to witness this “great conjunction,” NASA said (assuming the skies are clear).
The closest alignment will appear just a tenth of a degree apart and last for a few days. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so close that a pinkie finger at arm’s length will easily cover both planets in the sky, NASA said. The planets will be easy to see with the unaided eye by looking toward the southwest just after sunset.
Learn more in this story by NASA.