Oh, Great Conjunction!

On 21 December 2020 (22nd for us in Australia), Jupiter and Saturn will appear the closest together in the night sky in 400 years. The two planets will be so close that they will appear to form a “double planet” and some sky-gazers have been calling it the “Christmas Star”.

The phenomenon has actually become known as the ‘great conjunction’. In astronomy terms, a conjunction is when two objects appear close together in the sky, but when those objects are Jupiter and Saturn – an event that only takes place every 20 years or so – it is referred to as a “great conjunction”. The scale of December 2020’s great conjunction, which will see Jupiter and Saturn come within 0.1 degrees of each other, hasn’t occurred since 1623.

Ref:  timeanddate.com

In the southern hemisphere, the great conjunction will occur at 4:20am AEST on 22 December.  The two planets have been edging closer together since September 2020.

To get the best view on 22 December, you’ll need to look towards the West.  Jupiter is the brighter of the two planets. They will set within a couple of hours and you will need a clear, cloudless view to be able to see them.

In addition, a few days before they align, a crescent moon will brush past the two planets, reaching its closest point on 17 December in the Eastern Hemisphere, providing another mini spectacle for star gazers.

Ref:  timeanddate.com