Jupiter, Saturn To Make Christmas Star Visible For First Time In 800 Years


Well, this is exciting!

Jupiter and Saturn are set to align closer than they have in nearly 800 years. Their special alignment is being called a 'Christmas Star' is it's set to appear just a few days ahead of the holiday.

On Monday (December 21)—AKA the winter solsctice—Jupiter and Saturn will align in such a way that the planets will appear as one really bright star to the naked eye. The planets will be visible on the western horizon.

“The last time this happened and people were able to see it, the telescope hadn’t even been invented yet,” Noel Richardson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, told The Daytona Beach News Journal. “And now, we’re in a golden age for astronomy and understanding the universe.”

Once every four centuries, Saturn and Jupiter pass closely enough to each other in the sky so as to appear as the memorable 'Christmas Star.' The last time this phenomenon occurred was the year 1623. "Unfortunately, it actually happened during daytime hours, so you couldn’t observe it,” Richardson said of the last time this happened. “This is the first time a large number of people will really be able to see it. This is something that will be able to be seen with the unaided eye, but with a pair of binoculars or a low-magnification telescope, you’ll be able to see both planets in the same field of view.”

Also known as the "great conjunction," sky gazers will be able to see these two stars align simply by looking low in the western sky about 45 minutes after sunset. Astronomers recommend searching for the brights star in the sky. It should be pretty easy to spot.

Photo: Getty