Rare 'Christmas Star' to Appear on Dec. 21

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Photo/s: Michael Zuber | EarthSky

Jupiter and Saturn are scheduled to meet and light up the sky right before Christmas in a rare conjuction which can be spotted from Earth.

The two planets have moved closer over the past months and will be around 1/5 of a full Moon apart on Dec. 21. According to NASA, telescopes may be able to see both planets at once in the same field of view.

These conjunctions occur every 20 years, and this year's is an especially close one.

Astronomers have dubbed this the "Christmas Star" or the same bright sight that lit Bethlehem's skies in the biblical passage.


Though the two planets appear close, but are actually millions of miles apart. The supposed meeting is quite the sight but will only last for a short while—Jupiter and Saturn will set shortly after sunset.

For the best view, look above the western horizon after sunset. Clear skies will help.

Main image by Michael Zuber from EarthSky.

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