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2020 Will not end Without a Great Conjunction

By: Zona Sur

The most spectacular planetary union in the last 400 years will happen in December. 12.21.2020 As bright as the star of Bethlehem and as calculated as a Mayan prophecy, skywatchers will not be disappointed on this solstice day.

Jupiter and Saturn come out first thing at nightfall in December 2020, and will continue to do so until the year’s end. These two worlds appear bright and beautiful at nightfall, though they sit low in the southwest sky. Day by day, the twosome appears a bit lower in the sky at nightfall and sets sooner after dark. To see these worlds, find an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, and seek them out rather low in the sky as soon as darkness falls.

Around the world, Jupiter and Saturn set about 3 1/3 hours after the sun in early December. Near the month’s end, the twosome follows the sun beneath the horizon around 1 1/2 hours after sunset.

For the first time since the year 2000, Jupiter and Saturn will have great conjunction this year, on December 21, 2020. Great conjunctions of these two giant worlds happen every 20 years, but this year’s event will be the closest Jupiter-Saturn conjunction since the year 1623. Astronomers use the word conjunction to describe meetings of planets and other objects on our sky’s dome. They use the term great conjunction to describe a meeting of Jupiter and Saturn. The last great Jupiter-Saturn conjunction was May 28, 2000. The next one will be on December 21, 2020. Watch for these worlds to edge closer and closer together throughout the first three weeks of December 2020.

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