Two of the largest planets in the solar system will come together in “a great conjunction” right in time for Christmas, a phenomenon not seen for nearly 400 years.
On Monday, in a rare celestial event just after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn will be seen very close to each other, inching closer to be in conjunction, according to astronomers, who also say the two planets rarely come together like other bright planets do.
The two planets have never been so close since 1623, when Galileo was alive, with experts giving the name of "the great conjunction of 2020” to what has also become known popularly as the “Christmas Star.”
'Every night looking up in the sky we were seeing two bright celestial bodies, which they will meet up on the day of Winter solstice'
The phenomenon began several weeks ago according to local astrophysicist Chrysanthos Fakas, president of the Cyprus Astronomy Organisation.
“Every night looking up in the sky we were seeing two bright celestial bodies, which they will meet up on the day of Winter solstice,” Fakas said.
On the night of December 21, the physical distance between the two planets will be around 735 million kilometers.
To watch the Great Conjunction, stargazers need to find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park or an area without street lights.
However, cloudy skies could make it very difficult to view the Christmas star, while stargazers are advised to wacth very carefully as they may have a very short time window to see it now. The next time the two planets will come comparably so close will be 15 March 2080.