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Christmas Star: alignment of Jupiter and Saturn will be closest in 800 years



Photo / NASA

Coming a few days before Christmas this year, Jupiter and Saturn will appear within a hair’s breadth of one-another to the naked eye

Although most of us consider this to be one of the worst, if not the worst, year that we are aware of, it may close out with something miraculous. If you take the time to gaze heavenward on December 21st,, just after sunset, you might see it: A Christmas Star.

Already in early December the two giant orbs can be seen ever so gradually nearing each other, as if they are feeling some sort of mutual attraction, an odd couple. perhaps, Jupiter and Saturn.

And, according to celestial experts at NASA, they will continue to converge until they appear nearly co-joined: just 1/10th of a degree apart, with a barley perceptible gap in-between.

It was in 1226 that this could last have been witnessed

Though these couplings are known to occur in intervals of roughly 20 years, this year they will be the closest they have been to each other since 1623. In that year, however, they were too near the sun to look at, and because this year the event will take place on the winter solstice, you’d have to go all the way back to 1221 for a similar show. 

These two spectacular giants, which are the largest in the entire solar system, each with a personality, astrologically speaking, so divergent that they are said to be more like opposites, rather than twins or lovers. 

Jupiter, a king and believed to be bringer of good fortune, looks the part in a spectacular explosion of color and power, planet of miracles, hope, and opportunity. 

Saturn, meanwhile appears mysterious, unpredictable, even dangerous. Saturn has an air of the impossible and the forbidden. Best known, in astrological circles, for the so-called “quarter-life crisis” and for unexpected challenges to the status-quo. 

Across the USA,  a view of the two planets coming into near-alignment is going to be most visible and best viewed,  just after sunset, in the southwestern part of the sky.

In a glimpse into the relativity of all things in the universe, though this duo will appear to be close together — resembling a double star or a gleaming figure 8 shaped blob, the two planets will not , in reality, be that close. 

They will actually be more than 400 million miles apart. It is only from our lonely vantage on this little blue planet that they will appear to be “close” to each other.

Since it will be 2080 before a similar spectacle will grace our view, and that means that all but those who are currently quite young will not likely be alive, it is imperative to search the southwestern sky (from the USA) both the day before, after and of course on December 21st: as this is a rare opportunity to witness a spectacular and special event, and a last chance to do so for a long, long time to come. 

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