How to See the Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction
A once in a lifetime astronomy event is coming up on Dec. 21, 2020. The Jupiter and Saturn conjunction has not been this close in over 200 years! Some are also calling it the “Christmas star” because the two planets will look like an elongated star in the night sky from an observable perspective!
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What is a Planetary Conjunction
A conjunction is the close alignment of planets and other objects in the night sky. When a conjunction is labeled as a great conjunction, it describes the close-alignment of the biggest planets in our solar system Jupiter and Saturn!
How to see the Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction Without a Telescope
Many astronomers seek dark sky locations to get the night sky's best views, but this rare conjunction will be so bright that it will be visible from almost anywhere, including light-polluted skies!
Stargazing and Observing Tips
- Find dark sky sites - although not necessary for this conjunction.
- Adjust your eyesight - it takes up to 30 min for eyes to adjust to dark skies!
- Use astronomy apps like the Celestron SkyPortal App
- Plan ahead - pack your outerwear and stay warm!
- Join a space channel - ClearSkiesNetwork streams live almost daily!
Check out our How to Stargaze Without a Telescope Guide for more tips!
How to See the Conjunction with Your Telescope
Even though the Saturn and Jupiter Conjunction will be observable without a telescope, it is advantageous to get celestial front row seats!
Some great features to see of Jupiter are its Great Red Spot and Jupiter’s moons! Check out more of Jupiter’s features below.
Since Saturn will also be brightly visible, you can use your telescope to view the rings around Saturn! You can also look for the Cassini Division, a dark gap between its two brightest rings.
If you want to capture the views through your telescope, the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter makes a great accessory. You can also place your smartphone on your eyepiece to capture the great conjunction that way.
Check out our guide on How to See the Planets with a Telescope for more ideas!
Best Planetary Cameras for the Conjunction
The ZWO ASI290MC has been listed as the ultimate planetary imaging camera for its sensitive chip paired with fast video frame rates, the most searched spec in planetary imaging. You can use it for lunar imaging too!
Here is a look at what you can capture with the ZWO ASI290MC!
For more equipment ideas, check out our Best Planetary Cameras for planetary and lunar cameras recommended by the OPT Team!
How to Capture Jupiter
Bought your planetary camera but still looking for tips? Check out our blog on How to Photograph Jupiter for an in-depth guide on capturing the bright planet!
More December Astronomy Events
Even though the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction will be one of the month's last events, there are still some deep space objects you can look forward to capturing or plan to observe the last Full Moon of the month!
Whether you are planning to observe the great conjunction through your telescope, or other gear, we hope you get the chance to look up!
How will you be observing the great conjunction? Tell us in the comments below!