Jupiter, Saturn to make closest conjunction in nearly 400 years just days before Christmas

The two will appear as a larger star, but won’t be the Christmas Star.

Conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter

ROANOKE, Va. – Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article, it’s important to note that there’s been some hardcore clickbait out there regarding this month’s upcoming planetary conjunction. While we may want to cling to any sign of hope in the year that’s been 2020, this conjunction will not be the Christmas Star. Meaning, it won’t look like the glorious pictures that you may have seen posted on social media.

Having said that, we’ll take any additional brightness we can get in the final days and weeks of 2020. This planetary conjunction ought to do just that. (A conjunction refers to a meeting between planets in our sky.) In the nights prior to the ‘great conjunction,’ Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in the southwest sky about an hour after sunset.

The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn happens every 20 years. One this close, however, hasn’t happened since 1623. The two will only be separated by a tenth of a degree on the night of December 21st, which also coincides with the winter solstice.

So, be sure to look out for a larger “star” in the west/southwest sky shortly after sunset on the night of the 21st. It’s definitely a needed dose of brightness in the final days of what has been a challenging year for many.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.