mirror– Jupiter and Saturn will cross paths in the sky tonight, creating a celestial spectacle not seen for 800 years.
The two planets will appear as one bright star thanks to a trick of perspective caused by their orbits around the Sun.
Technically known as a “great conjunction”, this is being described as a “Christmas Star” thanks to its appearance on 21 December, the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year.
The last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close together and visible was in 1226 AD.
It’s an extremely rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to see the two largest planets align in the night sky.
Here’s what time you’ll be able to see it:
What time is the great conjunction?
The Christmas Star will be easiest to see just after sunset tonight – between 4pm and 5pm.
As long as there’s a clear sky, without too many clouds, you should be able to see the planets with the naked eye. You won’t need a telescope or binoculars to enjoy the spectacle.
Jupiter and Saturn are so bright, they should even be visible from most major cities.
NASA recommends going out immediately after sunset, and finding somewhere with an unobstructed view, like a park or a field.
You should then look up to the Southwestern sky, and you should be able to spot the planets low on the horizon. They’ll be the brightest thing you can see.
You’ll need to be quick – the planets will only be visible for about an hour after darkness falls.
If it’s cloudy and you cannot see the great conjunction in the sky, you can also watch it on a Lowell Observatory live stream on YouTube.