The Christmas Star in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
This is the space story everyone is talking about – and for good reason. This will be the only opportunity in our lifetime where we will be able to see Jupiter and Saturn in the telescope at the same time! The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226.
In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, you can view the peak of the two planets crossing paths between 6:15-6:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21. To find it, face southwest. There you will easily spot Jupiter as one of the brightest night time objects. Saturn will be the fainter pinpoint of light to Jupiter’s right.
“The planets will be low in the sky, so you will need to watch from a location with a clear view to the southwestern horizon. Although Jupiter and Saturn will appear nearest on the evening of Dec. 21, they will be very close together Dec. 18 through 24,” said Dean Regas at the Cincinnati Observatory. “In fact you should also be able to see them simultaneously in a small telescope on Dec. 20, 21 and 22.”
And why is this rare phenomenon called “The Christmas Star”? Astronomers once thought the bright combination of the two planets coming together resembled the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi to Jesus.
Update: Forecast for Monday, December 21: Cloudy, Temperatures in the low 40’s, hopefully we’ll get some clearing. However on Tuesday, the forecast is mostly clear, and the two planets will still be close together.