Jupiter and Saturn to Form a “Great Conjunction” on Winter Solstice on December 21

by Amy Lusignan

Jupiter and Saturn to Form a “Great Conjunction” on Winter Solstice

On December 21, the winter solstice, Montgomery County will be able to witness a “great conjunction” between Jupiter and Saturn.

Quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime event— the last time this happened was March 1226 — Jupiter and Saturn will align together so well that they’ll look like one giant star.

The two celestial giants come close to each other every 20 years, but this year the planets will be close enough to create a “double planet.” Thankfully, no matter how close Jupitar and Saturn look, they’ll still be very distant from each other.

Unfortunately, as of December 19, Montgomery County is looking at a cloudy night sky on December 21, but forecasts can change and it’ll be worth stepping outside for a minute for an event that hasn’t occurred for almost 800 years.

The temperature is estimated to be around 35F, so everyone should make sure to bundle up before going out.

The “great conjunction” will not only be an incredibly rare event, but a somehow fitting way to end a chaotic year.

Jo Marchant, a science journalist, told the New York Times how humans will always feel connected to what’s beyond them. “That feeling that we belong in the cosmos, that we belong in the universe and that we can find personal meaning with what is happening in the sky. I think that something that we still have now.” To end 2020 with a bang, astronomically at least, makes sense somehow.

Photo courtesy of NASA.


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