By Mike Augustyniak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you’ve looked up on a clear night lately you may have noticed two bright planets – Jupiter and Saturn – side-by-side in the sky.

The show will reach its peak on Monday, and this year’s view is extra rare.

Like the hands of a clock aligning about once an hour, every 20 years or so, Jupiter, Saturn, and Earth align along their orbits, in what’s called a conjunction.

Jupiter and Saturn are some of the brightest objects in the sky this time of year, and for the last few weeks, these two points of light have gotten closer and closer.

They’ll be closest on Monday night, appearing almost on top of each other, but you’ll need to look quickly to see it. The planets will only be in view between 5:15 p.m. and 7 p.m.  They’ll be visible towards the southwest, about the width of a fist above the horizon held at arm’s length.

Jupiter will appear 10 times brighter than Saturn, so it’ll be harder to find. Though it will be visible through binoculars or a telescope.

The last time these planets were this close was in 1623. Though at that time, they probably weren’t visible because they were closer to the sun and were probably washed out by the light.

So, the last time anyone on Earth actually saw the planets this close together was in 1226, almost 800 years ago.

 

Mike Augustyniak