October 16, 2021


Two Planets, One Large Star

UNITED STATES - This evening, skywatchers will see a brighter star in the southwest sky.  As this "star," known as the "Christmas Star," is really not a star, but two planets traveling together across the night sky.  Known as the "Grand Conjunction," the two giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn will catch up to one another and join forces to bring us a brighter "star."

Photo Credit:  NASA / Bill Ingalls
Photo Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls

According to NASA, those who want to check out this phenomenon, need to do the following...

  • Find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen even from most cities.
  • An hour after sunset, look to the southwestern sky. Jupiter will look like a bright star and be easily visible. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky.
  • The planets can be seen with the unaided eye, but if you have binoculars or a small telescope, you may be able to see Jupiter’s four large moons orbiting the giant planet.