Jupiter and Saturn are about to do something not seen since the Middle Ages
(WOLO) – If you look to the night sky, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen fairly close to each other. Jupiter is a bit brighter with Saturn following to its left.
The two largest planets in our solar system are about to get even closer.
According to an astronomer at Rice University, just after sunset on the evening of Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in Earth’s night sky than they have been in 800 years.
“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan, in a news release published by the university. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”
Jupiter and Saturn have been approaching one another in Earth’s sky since the summer. From Dec. 16-25, the two will be separated by less than the diameter of a full moon.
Hartigan says for most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.
Though the best viewing conditions will be near the equator, the event will be observable anywhere on Earth, weather-permitting. Hartigan said the planetary duo will appear low in the western sky for about an hour after sunset each evening.