The shortest day of the year will carry a big show.
On Monday, as the Northern Hemisphere marks the start of winter with the solstice, we are also dealing with a rare and stunning sight in the sky:.
During the show, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, will appear very close to each other, as if they were overlapping to create a double planet. The last time we received such a scene was during the Middle Ages – nearly 800 years ago.
Some associate her with the mythical Star of Bethlehem, who guided the Three Wise Men in the story of the Bible’s birth.
To celebrate the first day of winter and the great conjunction that occurs on the same day, Google has created an animated doodle that shows Saturn giving Jupiter a high score of five as it slides into the orbit of its solar system.
Conjunction occurs when any two astronomical objects close to each other appear in the sky when observed from Earth. In our view, the two giant planets will appear only ten degrees away, although in reality they are about 450 million miles away.
The pairing of the two planets occurs every 19.6 years, but it is the first time since 1226 that the couple has lines up at night and Earthlings can see it.
Close alignment will be easily visible with the naked eye while looking at the southwest sky just after sunset.