Look towards the night sky on December 21st and you can see what is truly amazing.
The so-called “Great combinationIt last happened in 1623 but cannot be seen from Earth. Prior to this, the phenomenon had previously occurred on March 4, 1226.
Due to its proximity to Christmas Day, some scientists have named the 2020 astronomical event the “Christmas Star” or the “Bethlehem Star”.
“Arrangements between these two planets are very rare, occurring once every 20 years, but this combination is very rare no matter how close the planets appear to each other,” he said. Patrick Hortigan, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University.
“On a close approach evening on December 21, they look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5 of the full moon’s diameter,” Hortigan explained. In a statement. “To most telescope viewers, each planet and their largest moons appear in the same scene that evening.”
“Look for less in the southwest in the hour after sunset,” Recommended by NASA on its website. “And on December 21, the two largest planets will only appear one-tenth of a degree – about the thickness of a dime at arm’s length!”
Those closer to the equator will improve as they look at the conditions.
“Further north viewer, they need to get a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon,” Rice said. “Fortunately, the planets are bright enough to be seen in two-light, which may be the best time for most US viewers to observe the conjunction.”
The extent to which the conjugation lasts also depends on the environment.
Nahum Arav, A professor of physics at Virginia Tech, described the “rare event” as “unique in how bright the planets are and how close they are to each other in the sky.”
He said in a statement that the two planets were “easily” visible to the naked eye. “They are very close to each other, about a fifth the diameter of the moon. At their close, some people need binoculars to separate them. ”
The scene will then take place on March 15, 2080.
After that? Well, it’s been a long time coming – up to 2400 years.
Calling all HuffPost Super fans!
Sign up for membership as a founding member and help create the next chapter of HuffPost