MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Jupiter and Saturn will be close together on Monday, December 21 and could look like one bright star in the night sky.
The two giant planets will only be separated by 0.1 degree, so some viewers will see this as one bright star. However, most people will be able to tell that it is two separate planets that are sitting next to each other. Nonetheless, it will be rare to see Saturn and Jupiter this close.
According to astronomers, they haven’t been this close since 1623. However, it likely wasn’t visible because of poor viewing conditions. Therefore, they think 1226 was the last time people were able to see them together. Jupiter and Saturn will not be this close again until 2080.
WHEN TO SEE IT: You will only be able to see Jupiter and Saturn in the hours just after sunset. Sunset occurs at 4:48 pm on the 21st. They will be below the horizon just after 7 pm and no longer visible. Although they will be slightly farther apart, you can still view the planets shining brightly in the sky in the few days before and after the 21st.
This has been nicknamed the ‘Christmas Star,’ which is a reference to the nativity scene in the Bible, because it is visible on the week of Christmas. In addition, this will occur on the day of the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year.