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The ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn 2020


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, came closer together than they have been in 800 years on Monday.

The alignment has been nicknamed the “Christmas Star” but the fact that this event is happening close to Christmas and during the winter solstice is pure coincidence.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society, the two largest planets in the solar system were just 0.1 degrees apart, or about one fifth of the diameter of the full moon.

If you missed it Monday night or the sky wasn’t clear, fear not: The two planets only appear to move apart very slowly, and will still appear unusually close together in the coming days.

The best perspective is for those near the equator.

While these two planets may appear close, it is only an optical effect. The two planets were millions of miles apart on Monday, despite appearing to be almost next to each other from the Earth’s perspective.

Conjunctions that are this close are very unusual, according to the Royal Astronomical Society, and Jupiter and Saturn were last seen in such proximity in 1623.

If you missed this conjunction and want to see the planets with the same proximity, just higher in the sky, it won’t happen until March 15, 2080 — and then not again until after 2400.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Reynolds Jr.

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