They won't stay aligned for long, so you'll have to be quick if you want to spot this spectacular view. "Since the summer, Saturn has been chasing Jupiter through the night sky, basically". Given the tilts of each orbit, the next conjunction will actually be visible in 2080, according to projections from Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan.
A rare "close encounter" of the solar system's two largest planets December 21 will be a chance to see one of the theories to explain the biblical "Christmas Star". Technically, the two largest planets in our solar system will still be hundreds of millions of miles apart. Forbes notes that some believe that the "Star of Bethlehem" in the story of the "Three wise Men" could have been a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. But this year is particularly special because the two will appear to separated by just 1/5th the diameter of a full moon - or 0.1 degrees - an occurrence the world hasn't seen since the Middle Ages. This time in the month of Christmas something is going to happen that has not happened in the last 800 years. However, people back then weren't able to see it due to how close it was to the sun, blocking the view. "Maybe it's the soothing band-aid for 2020".
During the last great conjunction in 2000, Jupiter and Saturn were so close to the sun that the event was hard to observe. "In most people's lifetimes, it's not going to get any better than this with Jupiter and Saturn coming close together".
And to witness the conjunction on December 21?
The event can be seen anywhere on the Earth even with the naked eye, but it can best be viewed in areas near the equator about one hour after sunset.
The Hamptons Observatory will be hosting a Zoom meeting on Thursday, December 3 called "The Great Conjunction & Other Celestial Events" at the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center. "It'll be on the horizon, looking towards the southwest, so be looking in the direction that the sun sets in".