On Monday night, Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer together from the perspective of Earth than at any time since 1226. The two planets were so close, they appeared to be touching, separated by one-fifth the diameter of a full moon.
To the naked eye they appear close, but in space, they’re still hundreds of millions of miles apart. When celestial bodies align, astronomers call it a conjunction, but since this one involves our solar system’s two biggest gas giants, it’s technically a “great conjunction.”
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Because the event landed on a holiday week — and on the winter solstice, no less — many have been calling the formation the “Christmas Star.” This event was visible to almost anyone in the U.S. with a clear view of the horizon.
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