How to see Jupiter and Saturn’s closest alignment in 800 years


You might’ve heard about 2020’s “Christmas Star”, or a “Double Planet” coming soon to the night sky.

It’s actually a special “conjunction” of the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

In astronomy, a conjunction is two objects appearing close together in the sky.

On December 21st, the Solar System’s two biggest worlds will be positioned nearly on top of each other, separated by a distance only one-fifth the diameter of the Moon.

This will be the closest observable conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn in almost 800 years. 

While both planets are hundreds of millions of miles apart from Earth & each other, they meet in our sky about every 20 years.

This time is special because the pair haven’t been seen this close together since 1226*.

When & Where to Look

The two planets will be closest the 21st, but you can still see them together any clear evening before then.

To find the pair, just look southwest after sunset. Jupiter appears around 5 PM. Saturn becomes visible shortly after, more faint & slightly higher in the sky. 

Naked eye view of Jupiter & Saturn at 5:23 PM, Dec. 5th.
Both planets will move closer together before their Dec. 21st conjunction.

*The last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction this close actually occurred in 1623. That alignment happened right next to the Sun, however, and likely couldn’t be seen.

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