It's Christmastime, and what more fitting an end to the day that celebrates the birth of a blessed child, and the coming of the light, than a conjunction between two of the sky’s brightest objects?
As twilight descends on December 25, the distant gas giant and Mother Earth’s faithful satellite will bestow upon us double beacons of hope—a conjunction between glittering Jupiter and a brilliant, nearly full moon.
“It’s a beautiful apparition, visible all around the globe,” said NASA in a press release. “Even city dwellers, who often miss astronomical events because of light pollution, can see the show. Separated by less than two degrees, the bright pair will beam right through urban lights.”
“As viewed from the eastern and central United States, the moon and Jupiter will appear closest together during the late afternoon or early evening hours on Tuesday December 25,” said Space.com. “From New York, they’ll be closest together at 6:25 p.m. EST; from Chicago, it’ll be 5:18 p.m. local time.”
For those with access to a telescope who want to get a bit deeper into the magic, Jupiter’s stripes and signature red spot will be on full display. Below is a video talking about the planet, the largest in the solar system.
But no telescope is necessary to appreciate the ethereal sight. At sunset these “holiday lights will pop out of the deepening twilight,” NASA said. All one has to do is step outside and look east.