For the first time in hundreds of years, Jupiter and Saturn will be so close it’ll look like they’re touching. Of course, that’ll be far from the case. They’ll still be hundreds of millions of kilometers apart from each other this evening.
Astronomers call the phenomenon a conjunction when two celestial bodies align. This event is being dubbed a “great conjunction” because it involves two of our solar system’s biggest gas giants.
Some have begun calling the formation “The Christmas Star” since it’s happening during a holiday week.
Anyone with a clear view of the horizon 45 minutes to an hour after sunset begins should be able to see it. For best viewing results, NASA advises you to find an unobstructed view of the sky, like a field or a park. Binoculars or telescopes will be helpful but not required.
NASA Astronomer Henry Throop says Jupiter will look like the brightest star in the sky. Saturn will be positioned above and to the left of Jupiter.
This evening’s event will be the closest the two planets have appeared since the year 1226. If you happen to miss tonight’s event, another is expected in sixty years.