Jupiter and Saturn to reunite after 800 years to form a Christmas star

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Image tweeted by @Astroolove
Image tweeted by @Astroolove

New Delhi : It is once in a lifetime opportunity for stargazers to experience a unique Christmas star that will be formed when Jupiter and Saturn will reunite in space after an approximate 800 years. On December 21, which also happens to be the winter solstice, the two planets in our solar system will appear to almost merge in Earth’s night sky, so much so that they’ll appear as a brilliantly bright ‘double planet’.

Since the planets are coming so close together during the Christmas time, they have been named – Christmas stars.

"Over the next two weeks, the two planets will inch closer to each other until they’re only a tenth of a degree apart in the night sky, which is roughly the same thickness as a coin," according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA).

The last time such a December conjunction took place was back in 1226 and the planets won’t be this close again until March 15, 2080.

“The problem for this Great Conjunction is that it occurred very near sunset, so the Sun’s glare most likely obscured the pair of planets. The last observable time these planets were this close was the year 1226,” said Seth Mayo, curator of astronomy at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach.

How to watch the rare phenomenon?

Interestingly, if you have clear skies, it can be seen from anywhere on the planet earth and you also do not require a binoculars or telescope to watch it. Though, you can use them to enhance your experience.