The Great Conjunction has been taking place in slow motion all summer and will culminate on the winter solstice, tonight. That from Tim Yaworski who is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Saskatoon Centre.
He says all last week, on a clear night, you could look to the southwestern sky about a half hour after sunset where you would have seen the brightest looking star which is Jupiter. Above it and a little bit to the left you would have seen a not quite as bright star which is Saturn.
And he says tonight Jupiter and Saturn will be so close together that to the naked eye, they will appear to be one. The last time a conjunction of the two planets occurred, with Jupiter and Saturn this close together, was 400 years ago, but Yaworski says record keeping then didn’t indicate how bright the conjunction of the two planets appeared.
Because this celestial event is occurring so close to when Christmas is celebrated, many have dubbed it the Bethlehem star. Yaworski suggests the Star of Bethlehem in biblical scripture may have been a comet, or a conjunction, but today, on the winter solstice, it is definitely categorized as a Great Conjunction of two planets. The next conjunction is in the year 2080 and is predicted to happen in May.