(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Great Conjunction of 2020 will brighten the darkest day of the year as the two giant planets of our solar system draw closer together in the night sky than they have been in centuries.
By chance, the day that Jupiter and Saturn will appear closest for Earth-based stargazers is Dec. 21, the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere.
The double planet view is also known by some astronomers as the “Christmas Star” because of a belief that the biblical tale of the Star of Bethlehem could have been a planetary conjunction. Although around two thousand years ago, Venus and Jupiter were closest — not Jupiter and Saturn, as is the case for the “Christmas Star” of 2020.
The last time the two planets were so close was 1623, but stargazing conditions at the time meant the astronomical event likely was not seen by earthlings. The last time such a close pairing was observable to the naked eye was in 1226, according to EarthSky.