Saturn And Jupiter Will Appear As A Double Planet For First Time Since Middle Ages

(Credit: Shutterstock Cristian Cestaro)

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Saturn and Jupiter will appear as a double planet right before Christmas on Dec. 21.

The planets haven’t been this close to each other since March 4, 1226, according to a report published originally by Rice University.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan said. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.” (RELATED: SpaceX Successfully Launches Four Astronauts To The International Space Station)

Hartigan claimed the best viewing locations will be near the equator, but that the phenomenon will be able to be seen anywhere in the world.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan said. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

I know how I will be spending the evening of Dec. 21 now. It’s amazing to me how hyped up we get about events in space like this. Any time something cool happens with the moon or an eclipse, my whole family gets together to watch. There’s just something about space that is so intriguing for so many people.