Have you been mesmerized by the two star-like lights shining over Malibu, most brightly on the evening of Monday, Dec. 21? Those were actually Saturn and Jupiter, the two largest planets in our solar system, hovering over each other and appearing as a “double planet” during a phenomenon called “the great conjunction.”
“Th[at was] the closest they’ve been in 400 years and the first time at night in 800,” Axios Space author Miriam Kramer wrote. The planets were only 0.1 degrees apart, or about one-fifth of the diameter of the full moon.
The two planets were bright enough to be seen around the world, Axios reported, encouraging anyone who’s able to take advantage of recent clear skies after sundown and look southwest.
Those who missed the “great conjunction” can still see the planets together, CNN said. “The two planets only appear to move apart very slowly, and will still appear unusually close together in the coming days,” the media organization wrote, adding that “the best perspective is for those near the equator.”
On Monday, Jupiter overtook Saturn and will now appear above it. Saturn is the slightly fainter of the two.
“The alignment has been nicknamed the “Christmas Star” but the fact that this event is happening close to Christmas and during the winter solstice is pure coincidence,” CNN reported.