On December 21 Jupiter and Saturn will appear the closest together in the night sky since 1623. This is called the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Local astronomers will be bringing their telescopes to the Tasman Heights lookout, 325 Princess Drive. You are also welcome to bring good binoculars.
Some are calling this an early “Christmas star’. NCC are turning off some street lights so that we can see this rare astronomical event more clearly.
For those who don’t want to go out, look towards the west 45 minutes after sunset. Look fast, because these planets will set soon after sunset.
When: Monday, December 21st at 9 pm.
Where: Tasman Heights lookout, 325 Princes Drive,
Weather: If fine or partly cloudy.
A conjunction happens when planets appear incredibly close to one another in the sky because they line up with Earth in their respective orbits.
When these two planets converge on Dec. 21 they will be the closest they’ve been to one another in the night sky since 1623. This event is special because of how bright the planets will be.
The next time you will be able to see this is 2080.
They will be so close together that you will be able to see them in one eyepiece of a telescope.
While the planets look close to each other from Earth, in reality they are separated by vast distances as they orbit the Sun.
From Earth we see the planets move from east to west across the sky along the same narrow band as the Moon and the Sun.
Saturn takes nearly 30 years to complete one orbit, but Jupiter only takes nearly 12 years, so we see Jupiter lap Saturn every 20 years.
Just how far apart they appear each time depends on how the tilt of the two planets’ orbits line up.