The Christmas Star: the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

As captured on Dec. 18 near the steeple of Église Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs during the week leading to Christmas. Hence, it has been dubbed the Christmas Star. These two giant planets pass each other in their orbits around the sun once every 20 years, and only rarely appear visible to the naked eye in Earth’s night sky. The last such observable occurrence was when Genghis Khan roamed Asia in 1226.

As 2020 comes to an end, people reminisce about the past 12 months and look forward to the new year. Now more than ever, they are searching for something to celebrate. NASA and astronomers have found a Christmas gift in the southwest night sky: the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, referred to by some as the Christmas Star.