WGXC-90.7 FM

Saturn and Jupiter align

Dec 21, 2020 1:15 pm

WNYT is reporting Mon, Dec. 21, is both the Winter Solstice and the day when Saturn and Jupiter come into alignment. Over the next several nights, the Great Conjunction will take place. This happens every 20 years, but the planets will be the closest to Earth this year that they have been since the Middle Ages. “So if you watch the sunset in the Southwestern sky, Jupiter will be the brightest thing you will see around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. and Saturn will move closer until the 21st when they will almost overlap,” said George Hassel of Siena College. Weather permitting; Hassel says you will see the planets along the horizon until about 6:30 p.m. each night. Frank Marzano of the Beaver County Amateur Astronomers, as reported by the Poughkeepsie Journal, also offers viewing tips. "The day of the closest approach to each other is on Mon., Dec. 21, but for a couple of days before and after that they will be so close that they will fit in the same field of view in a low power telescope," he said. "You want to be looking in the southwest a little bit after sunset. Both planets are low above the horizon so you don't want to wait too long. The naked eye is sufficient, but binoculars — or better yet, a telescope — will provide the most impressive views. Observe in a telescope at low power."