X-Plane Gallery with people


The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter

Jupiter and Saturn will align on December 21, 2020 (coincidentally the Winter Solstice) to create a Great Conjunction of 2020. Jupiter and Saturn have not been this closely aligned at night since March 4, 1226. That’s not a typo, friends–it’s been nearly 800 years since it last occurred!

We sat down with friend of the Cosmosphere and Kansas astronaut, Dr. Steven Hawley, to discuss what is called the “Great Conjunction” between Jupiter and Saturn.

First off, what is a “Conjunction”? When two celestial objects are near each other in the sky as seen from Earth. It happens more commonly with planets.

What is a “Great Conjunction”? The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. What’s great about it is that they’re really bright, they’re very close together and very visible in the night sky just around sunset about 30 degrees above the horizon in the west. The thing that is unusual is that Jupiter and Saturn have a conjunction about every 20 years. What’s really unusual this year is that they’re so close together. They’re going to be about a tenth of a degree apart.

Here’s a quick list of what do to look for:

  1. Find an unobstructed view of the night sky.
  2. Look to the southwestern sky about an hour after sunset. Jupiter will be quite bright and visible, Saturn will be just above Jupiter and slightly fainter.
  3. No need for a telescope if you don’t have one, they will be visible to the naked eye. But if you happen to have a telescope or binoculars, you might just be able to see Jupiter’s four large Moons; Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto!

Read more on the Great Conjunction here.

Watch it live on December 21, 2020 here.