If you step outside this evening & look at the sky, you’ll witness a planetary alignment not seen in almost 800 years.
Jupiter & Saturn will appear nearly on top of each other, the closest the two planets have been in our skies since 1226.
It’s called a ‘Great Conjunction’, and it happens about every 20 years.
This one is particularly rare because the Solar System’s two biggest planets will appear to be only one-fifth the width of the Moon apart from each other. A simple telescope will allow you to see both Jupiter & Saturn in the same field of view.
When & Where to Look
Wait about 45 minutes after sunset, then look into the southwestern sky. If you’re good with angles, the planetary pair will be about 15° above the horizon.
Looking that direction, Jupiter should be one of the first lights to appear after dark. Saturn shows up a little later just above it & not nearly as bright.
Both planets are visible around 5:15-5:30 PM. They’ll steadily sink, then disappear below the horizon by 7 PM.
If there happen to be a few clouds this evening, or you can’t get outside, no worries — Jupiter & Saturn will still be close together the next several nights.
Tonight is just the nearest the two get.
The next Great Conjunction is in 2040. That alignment will be farther apart.