How to View the "Christmas Star" this December 21st!
Well we’ve already had one universal phenomenon this month, how about another?
Last week we had a meteor shower come through, and come December 21, we could see The “Great” Conjunction (aka the Christmas Star) – essentially, Jupiter and Saturn meeting up for the holidays.
Leading up to December 21, you can still glimpse the planets getting closer and closer together. To get the perfect view, follow these tips from NASA:
- Find a spot with a large clearing, like a field or park. The good thing is ambient light from most cities still won’t interfere with viewing the planets since they’re so bright.
- An hour after sunset, look to the southwestern sky. Find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen even from most cities.
- An hour after sunset, look to the southwestern sky. Jupiter will come across as a bright star, easily visible and brighter than Saturn. Saturn will then appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter. They will remain this way until December 21, when they will switch positions.
- The planets can be seen with the unaided eye, but if you’ve got binoculars or a small telescope, you could catch a glimpse of Jupiter’s four large moons.
According to NASA, Astronomical conjunctions happen whenever two celestial bodies appear to pass or meet each other. What makes this one “great,” though, is that it involves our solar system’s two largest planets. What’s more is that even though the planets meet once every twenty years or so, this could be the closest they get than in the past 400.
However, let’s come back down to earth. Even if these planets do get the closest they’ve been since the Renaissance, keep in mind they are still hundreds of millions of miles away from each other – keeping up their CDC suggested social distance, if you will.
If you get a chance to capture this phenomenon on camera, share with us on Facebook and happy sky-gazing!