News Local news Jupiter and Sat­urn will appear to touch in clos­est con­junc­tion since 1623

Jupiter and Sat­urn will appear to touch in clos­est con­junc­tion since 1623

Stargaz­ers await rare Jupiter, Sat­urn conjunction

We are now just a week away from what astronomers are call­ing a rare con­junc­tion of the two largest plan­ets in our solar sys­tem: Jupiter and Saturn.

Just after sun­set on Decem­ber 21, the two plan­ets — although still 400 mil­lion miles apart — will appear to touch, illu­mi­nat­ing the night sky just days before Christ­mas. 

“The term con­junc­tion refers to any­time you have two celes­tial bod­ies which appear close,” said José Cotayo, edu­ca­tion spe­cial­ist at the Muse­um of Sci­ence and Indus­try in Tam­pa. “It’s often called the great con­junc­tion when it hap­pens with the two gas giants — those being Jupiter and Saturn.”

Great con­junc­tions are not that rare, occur­ring rough­ly every two decades based on the align­ing orbits of the planets.

How­ev­er, this year, stargaz­ers should get the best view of it in cen­turies. Jupiter and Sat­urn will appear the clos­est they have since 1623, accord­ing to NASA.

The two plan­ets have been draw­ing clos­er and clos­er togeth­er in the sky for months.

On Mon­day, they are expect­ed to appear as a sin­gle point of bright light, eas­i­ly seen in the south­west­ern sky from any­where, even with the naked eye.

 Astronomers say binoc­u­lars or tele­scopes will enhance the view­ing, mak­ing Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons more visible.

Should skies remain clear, “you will be amazed,” Cotayo said.

If you miss the con­junc­tion this time around, Astronomers say it won’t be this close or this vis­i­ble again until 2080.

By Tony Sadiku

Source: foxnews13​.com