Things Astronomical

If you have a fairly good view (and clear) of the western sky, you might like to peek at this.  It’s visible to the naked eye.  Jupiter and Saturn will be closest – only 0.1 degrees apart – on the day of the solstice, December 21, 2020.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000. But these conjunctions aren’t all created equal. The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226! 2020’s extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.

             [more details:  https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/great-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-dec-21-2020]

The moon isn’t really near it now, but if you look pretty much West/Southwest just as the sky darkens (for me it’s around 5:50-5:45 pm PST to be dark enough) (and it’s high enough then to be above the top of the building I face), you can see it.  You usually have to find Jupiter first, and then look for Saturn knowing that it’s nearby (NW from Jupiter, at about 11:00 on a clock face).  If you can see more of the sky than I can from my apt., you may be able to find the moon and then look to the southeast from it.   [Correction as of just now:  Saturn has moved and now is more at 1:00, and it’s getting more difficult to see both as they get closer together – unless you have a better view than I do.  If you have binoculars, they work great.]

They come closest to each other on Dec 21, but you can see them now, and probably for a while after tomorrow.  I had to hope I’d have clear enough skies for it.  Usually things like this are hidden because they’re in a direction I can’t see or we have an evening cloud cover hiding them, but I’ve been able to see them get closer together almost every night since late Nov.

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