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Winter Solstice begins Monday with Christmas Star

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

PHOTO: Chan Hoi

As we begin the winter solstice early Monday morning, the evening time frame will offer a once in a life-time event for sky gazers.

Planets Jupiter and Saturn will align together to form what astronomers are calling the ‘Great’ Conjunction.

Over the last few weeks, these two planets have been moving closer and closer together and will soon put on a bright night for the start of the Christmas week.

Henry Throop, an astronomer of the Planetary Science Division at NASA in Washington, says the event could happen on any day of the year, depending on where the planets are in their orbits.

Troop also says that date of the conjunction is determined by the positions of Jupiter, Saturn, and the Earth in their paths around the Sun, and the tilt of the earth's axis on the winter solstice.

According to NASA, this phenomenon occurs roughly every 20 years, where Jupiter and Saturn pass each other in the solar system.

It has been more than 400 years since they have both been this close to each other, and about 800 years since this alignment occurred in the nighttime sky.

Be sure to look in the southwest direction Monday evening after sunset and have your cameras on standby.

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