Saturn and Jupiter Conjunction
By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of Mira Brand
A celestial phenomenon known as the “Great Conjunction,” in which Jupiter and Saturn appear close to one another in the southwestern night sky, was seen over Castle Pines last month.
Also known as the “Christmas Star,” December 2020 was the first time in almost 800 years that the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, according to NASA. Although they appeared next to each other for several days, with Saturn positioned slightly above and to the left of Jupiter, the two planetary giants were actually more than 400 million miles apart in space.
The event could be seen with the naked eye, but avid skywatchers advocated the use of binoculars or a small telescope for optimal viewing. Some observers were even able to see Jupiter’s four large moons orbiting the largest celestial body in the Milky Way. Amateur and professional photographers alike took advantage of the rare event, snapping once-in-a-lifetime shots before and after the phenomenon peaked on December 21.