Almost 800 Years Ago

Earlier today, Legal Bytes posted the answer to which planet spins fastest . . . If you were surprised that Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, is also the planet that spins fastest, and you are amazed by our universe, this little fact is likely to be even more interesting. The 2020 event will be visible are occurrence will happen after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020, at the beginning of the winter solstice.
If you are still interested or intrigued, read on . . .

In just a few weeks, towards the the end of this year a celestial event will occur and be visible that has not seen for almost 800 years. The two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will form what looks like a double planet – sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star.” This celestial event has not been visible from Earth since the Middle Ages – March 4, 1226, to be more precise. Whether you are lucky enough to have a telescope or you are just curious and want to focus your eyes on the night sky, point your gaze towards the Western horizon starting around 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, 2020.  While you can see it anywhere from Earth, the farther North you are, the less time you will have to catch a glimpse.

The rare event occurs when Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our Solar System, appear close to each other in the sky – separated by 1/5 of the moon’s diameter. In fact, if you do have a telescope you may also be able to see a number of the larger moons of both Jupiter and Saturn.

The overall effect is to make all of these celestial objects appear as a ‘double planet’  and to give you some idea of how rare this alignment is, the two planets won’t appear this close to each other until March 15, 2080 and then again, not until some time after the year 2400.