If you’re among the millions of passionate stargazers out there, you cannot afford to miss a cosmic event that repeats itself once in several centuries. The Middle Ages was the last time when Jupiter and Saturn offered an impressive and similar show on the night sky, and we all should be privileged to have the chance of seeing the event repeat itself in 2020.
Grab your popcorn and your spouse, and look on the night sky on December 21! Jupiter will be closer to Saturn than they’ve ever been since the Middle Ages, and you can see the two gas giants dancing with the naked eye.
Alignments between Jupiter and Saturn occur once in 20 years
Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer from Rice University, offers us more details about the upcoming cosmic event:
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,
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 are the biggest planets from our Solar System, and we recommend using a telescope to see them join forces for the celestial show from December.
Jupiter will be separated from Saturn by 1/5th the diameter of a full Moon
Although the historical approach will happen on December 21, the two planets will still look very close to one another until Christmas. This means that stargazers still have plenty of time to feast their eyes on an outstanding alignment. But the good news is far from over, as in the evening of December 21, each planet from the Solar System and several of their moons will be visible in the same field of view. But of course, you’ll need to grab a telescope for that matter.
The next time when Jupiter will be as close to Saturn on the night sky will be in 2080. Since humanity probably won’t find out the secret for eternal life anytime soon, we must not miss the 2020 event.