The First Time In 800 Years, Jupiter & Saturn Come Together To Form A Single Star

The First Time In 800 Years, Jupiter & Saturn Come Together To Form A Single Star

The year 2020 has been like no other. One too many historic events took place that shook the very edifice of humanity. While some events brought tears to our eyes, some others brought joy. Regardless of everything, this year will be remembered for the human spirit and resilience.

As the year comes to an end, the celebration spirit is raking high despite the pandemic. Besides the festive spirit, however, there is something else that the world is looking forward to. After a hiatus of 800 years, the two largest planets, Saturn and Jupiter will be sighted in rare conjunction, fused into a single point of light.

According to Michael Shanahan, Director, Liberty Science Center Planetarium in New Jersey, the event had last occurred in the year 1226 during the Middle Ages. He also adds that events with long cycle in astronomy come back during different epochs of human history.

The two planets usually align in close proximity every 20 years, which, in the astronomical sense, means that the distance between the two becomes as much as the width of two moons. On this day of rare occurrence, the planets will be just a tenth of a degree apart, which is about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length. Thus, they will ‘appear’ to be aligned with each other, says NASA.

The event is occurring four days prior to Christmas, on 21 December. Not devoid of ample speculation, several people are being said to be believing that this is the conjunction that led to the formation of the Christmas Star, which was spotted by the three wise men in the Nativity story in the Holy Bible. The star supposedly guided them to the city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. This conjunction is, therefore, also being called as the ‘Christmas Star’.

The two planets will appear close in the sky for this whole month, and people will be able to sight the occurrence by looking southwest just after sunset, NASA astronomer Henry Throop told TODAY.

Shanahan suggests that one should watch out for this rare planetary alignment on the 21st of December, which is the day of the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. He additionally remarks that the viewers should look towards the southwest, unobstructed by trees or buildings.

This alignment will not appear so close in the sky again until 2080, so this is something we sure would not want to miss out on!

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