Rare 'double planet' to reappear for first time since 1226

Posted at 2:11 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 15:11:30-05

This winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will fascinate the night sky once more!

Performing an act not seen since the year 1226; they will appear as a double planet after sunset on Dec. 21.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said Rice University astronomer, Patrick Hartigan.

From Dec. 16-25, these planets will only be separated by less than the diameter of a full moon.

As for viewing conditions? While the best view may be near our equator, this rare display will be viewable anywhere on Earth (weather-permitting).

Hartigan also noted the dynamic planetary duo will appear low in the western sky for roughly an hour after sunset each evening.

Anyone interested should make plans as the next time this duo will perform won't be until March 15, 2080.

After that, it will not happen again until sometime after the year 2400!