Jupiter-Saturn conjunction trends with people sharing pictures and videos


The two planets haven't been this close to each other since the spectacular astral event that hasn't occurred since the Middle Ages, making this year's event a "great conjunction," Hennessy said.

The paths the planets follow around the sun will bring them into rough alignment shortly after the sun sets in the southwest, creating what astronomers call a "grand conjunction".

According to astronomers, the so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in the solar system aren't particularly rare.

"As the sixth planet from the sun and second largest in the solar system, Saturn is a gas giant with an average radius of nine times that of earth", added the official. For Jupiter, that orbit takes nearly 12 years and for Saturn, that same orbit around the sun takes nearly 30 years. The two planets will actually remain 450 million miles apart but will appear closer.

Though Jupiter and Saturn pass each other and align in the sky roughly every 20 years, tonight would still mark a unique event of Great Conjunction, according to USA space agency NASA.

Only about 0.1 degrees apart will be seen between the two planets.

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He explained, "In this planetary conjunction the Earth, Saturn and Jupiter will be very almost aligned so that Jupiter and Saturn appear near each other in the sky". Stargazers will be treated with a rare celestial event today as the planets Jupiter and Saturn are coming together after 400 years. Jupiter should appear slightly above it, and will brighter than Saturn.

Jupiter and Saturn will be giving us a feast for the eyes tonight (December 21) as one of the brightest stars to appear in the evening sky.

The Christmas Star phenomenon will likely be visible to the naked eye, though a telescope might give you a better view. Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction every 19.6 years, but this one is particularly close. The distance between them would start slowly increasing.

Their next super-close pairing will happen on March 15, 2080. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the planets are so bright they can be seen even from most cities.

The best views will come an hour after sunset when the sky is reasonably dark.