Jupiter and Saturn near for great conjunction on Dec. 21

First at Four: Planetarium on Saturn & Jupiter Event

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - An out-of-this-world event will have many looking up to the sky later next week.

Jupiter and Saturn are nearing for what is called a “great conjunction.”

The two will appear to overlap in the night sky on Mon., Dec. 21. In reality, they will still be hundreds of millions of miles apart.

Planetarium Manager Katherine Hunt, from Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach, explained this happens about every 20 years but this one will be special.

“Depending on the timing, you may not see it it might be during the day,” she said. “What’s very nice about this one is that we are seeing it in opposition of the sun so we are on one side of the sun and Jupiter and Saturn are on the other. That’s going to make them much brighter in our night sky. So, couple with the timing and the position in the solar system, it’s going to be very impressive and this particular type of display has not been seen since Galileo was viewing Jupiter and Saturn in the first telescopes over 400 years ago.”

Hunt said a telescope or binoculars will enhance the event but the scene will be impressive on its own.

Due to COVID-19, the planetarium will not have a viewing party on its lawn.

Still, stargazers can enjoy the event from their own backyards around sunset in the southwest sky.

The event has also been dubbed the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem” because of its brightness and proximity to Dec. 25.

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