On 21st December (the December solstice), Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely in the night sky that they’ll create a radiant point of light some call the “Solstice Star,” “Star of Bethlehem” or the “Christmas Star. Let’s hope this is a good omen for the year to come.
“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 be to one another,” said Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University. “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.”
The event, sometimes referred to as The Great Conjunction, occurs roughly every 19 to 20 years, but this is the closest the planets will line up in the night sky since the Middle Ages, some 800 years ago.
Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000. But these conjunctions aren’t all created equal. The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226! 2020’s extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.