Saturn and Jupiter will come their earliest in hundreds of years, creating the “Christmas Star” in an extremely rare event.
The two planets will create a “splendid event in the sky” on Monday night as they happen to meet in a common patch of sky, giving the appearance of a single star.
While the planets would actually remain approximately 400 million miles from each other, they would appear to the naked eye on Earth as a bright eye object.
The last time Jupiter and Saturn were close to each other and visible was in 1226 AD.
Appeared this year at the winter solstice, it has been described as the “Christmas Star” in reference to the story of the birth of Jesus.
While the planets will be at their closest point tomorrow, they are already visible in the night sky.
weather If allowed, the two planets would appear parallel in the UK on Sunday night, and so will Monday.
Professor Michael Burton said that the largest planets in the solar system would be only 0.1 degrees away, one-fifth of the diameter of the full moon, and would appear as the brightest object in the sky.
Professor Burton, Director of the Arma Planetarium Observatory in Northern Ireland added: “When that is [the 1623 conjuction] An event was day.
“The last one that was actually in good position for vision was 1226,800 years old.”
How to spot a Christmas star
NASA shared some helpful tips on how to define the scene, and Daily expression Reports.
“Find a place with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or a park,” the space agency said.
Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen even from most cities.
An hour after sunset, look at the southwestern sky. Jupiter will look like a bright star and can be seen easily.
“Saturn will be slightly fainter and appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will pass it and reflect their positions in the sky.
“The planets can be seen with the naked eye, but if you have binoculars or a small telescope, you may be able to see the four large moons of Jupiter orbiting the giant planet.”
NASA astronomer Henry Throup described this phenomenon.
“You can imagine the solar system as a race track, with each of the planets running in their own lane and Earth toward the center of the stadium,” he said.
“From our point of view, we will be able to see Jupiter on the inner corridor, approaching Saturn throughout the month and finally past it on December 21.”
Professor Throp said, “Associations like this could happen on any day of the year, depending on where the planets are in their orbits.”
“The date of conjunction is determined by the locations of Jupiter, Saturn, and Earth in their paths around the sun, while the date of the solstice is determined by the tilt of the Earth’s axis.”
When is the best time to see the Christmas star?
The best time to see the Great Conjunction will be shortly after sunset, as it hovers at its brightest by the moon between 4.30pm and 6pm.
This time, the pairing will be more evident soon after sunset, giving the perfect view of all corners of the Earth.
Binoculars or telescopes should enable viewers to see the four large moons of Jupiter.
The chance of clear skies is set to be greater in the northern half of the UK.