December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, but in 2020 the longest night of the year is also going to be a witness to an incredible astronomic event known as the “great conjunction”. … This rare double planet sighting–or “Great Conjunction”–can be viewed from anywhere around the globe.
Saturn and Jupiter will converge on Dec. 21 in an event astronomers call the “great conjunction” – also referred to as the “Christmas Star.” You can watch the event live online with webcasts from The Virtual Telescope Project, Slooh, and other observatories around the world.
Tonight’s great conjunction — also nicknamed the “Christmas Star” — marks the closest apparent encounter of Jupiter and Saturn in nearly 400 years. The two planets will be closest to each other in the sky tonight, which is also winter solstice, and may be viewed as one point of light, appearing only a tenth of a degree apart. They will remain in close alignment for a few days and will be easily visible to the naked eye when looking toward the southwest just after sunset.
A ‘CHRISTMAS star’ will light up the night’s sky tonight when Saturn and Jupiter come together during a Great Conjunction. The two massive planets will come so close together they will appear as just one object to the naked eye in an ultra-rare event that happens just once every 20 years.
The exact time you can see the Christmas star depends on where you are in the country but it should be visible around 4pm UK time. The planets will move so close that their brightness will merge to appear as one bright light. Some experts suggest this celestial phenomenon could be the star that kings Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar are said to have followed over 2,000 years ago.
Google is using its logo Monday to not only celebrate the first day of winter but a rare celestial event. The Monday doodle honors the Winter Solstice, which takes place on Dec. 21 and marks the shortest day and longest night of the year.
“Based on their orbits, from our vantage point on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn will cross within .1 degrees of each other (a fraction of the width of the full moon),” reads a description of the event by Google.
In the doodle, visitors will see Jupiter occupy one of the O’s in the logo as they watch Saturn pass by and give a quick high-five.