Gas planets Jupiter and Saturn will move within 0.1 degrees of each other, appearing like a giant star in the night sky, and York University’s Allan I. Carswell Observatory will broadcast the event on Dec. 21 – clear skies permitting – through its YouTube channel, offering a live view through the one-metre telescope.
“This will be the closest they’ve been to each other since 1623,” says Assistant Professor Elaina Hyde of York University’s Faculty of Science.
“This means the planets Jupiter and Saturn will be so close together, you would be able to easily cover them both with a pinkie finger held outstretched towards the sky, so close it will appear as a single bright star.”
In the weeks leading up to what’s called the “Great Conjunction” on Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible low in the western sky just after sunset. The two planets will get closer to each other until they will reach their closest pass.
A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn only happens about once every 20 years.
The live YouTube event is scheduled to take place from 4 to 6 p.m. To watch it online, visit this link.
For more information, visit the Allan I. Carswell Observatory website.