While there is a possibility of a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction every 20 years, the 2020 event was rare. The recent confluence was a perfect double planet view that was never witnessed since 1226, which means nearly 800 years.
It was one of the most historical celestial events that will remain in the books forever. Cosmic and space experts are calling this event the formation of a “Christmas Star.” The main reason is that the conjunction took place just around Christmas time, starting December 21.
According to Patrick Hartigan, Rice University astronomer, a Jupiter and Saturn conjunction are quite rare. He also mentions that there is a conjunction possibility every 20 years. This was special because of the closer distance. Hartigan also says that if you want to see a similar conjunction, it must go back to March 4, 1226. It was only during that day that the planets were so near-visible in the night sky.
Hartigan’s description of the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction
Hartigan’s prediction of the Christmas Star visibility between December 16 and December 21 was perfect. On the last day of the celestial event, the conjunction looked like a double planet. The same was divided by 1/5 of the full moon’s diameter. According to Patrick Hartigan, everyone with a telescope will get an exact picture of the planets and the largest moon in the same field.
The astronomy experts are referring to this celestial occurrence as the Star of Bethlehem too. According to Hartigan’s prediction, the event was visible from all points on the Earth. However, the visibility duration was lesser for people who live in the northern part of the part.
It also means that farther north a pers, less clear was the visibility. According to Franck Marchis, the two planets’ actual distance during the conjunction was almost 456 million meters. However, from the Earth, the visible space was 0.1 degrees only.