Christmas Star

According to a Canadian chap I’m chatting to Saturn and Jupiter will be in alignment for the first time in centuries on December 21st. He often talks out of his Uranus, so I can’t be sure.

It ties with the start of Thanksgiving in 1623. Curious…

1226 was the last time it was this aligned.

Yeah, I actually noticed Saturn and Jupiter were close a week or two back. As in I noticed two of the only “stars” I could see were close together, and I used a phone app to see what they were.

The conjunction could be moot for us since the clouds may not ever clear again.

At the moment we can’t see it, not just because of cloud cover but because they are too low in the sky. They are westward and I assume they are going down.

So, if there isn’t any cloud cover dusk will be the best time to watch?

I’m having difficulty orienting my view of the night sky - which apps can be helpful?

My mate uses Night Sky. I’m a bit of an idiot with this sort of thing.

Could be the second coming. I used to do that.

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We’ve decided that if I can grow a beard by the 21st I am Jesus.

After sunset, anyway. I just used Night Sky to see where they will be at 6:20pm tonight, and they should be, I dunno, several hand-widths above the western horizon (a very rough approximation). Look towards where the sunset had been.

When I saw them a week or two ago, they were very, very clear - that was walking west, around 6pm, on a downhill incline; they were to the west yes, but still well above the horizon. Very clear = only two “stars” I could actually see in that direction with local light pollution. If I understand the astronomy right, they’ll be slightly lower now. If it’s a clear night and you see anything in that direction in the next week or two (Venus is currently “below” the sun), shortly after sunset, it’ll probably be the conjunction.

FWIW, Mars was recently at one of its closest points to us, and was unusually bright - and red - in the sky. If you’re facing west after sunset, look close to straight up, a bit behind you. Usually to my eyes Mars doesn’t really look red, but right now (well, a month ago), it actually did.

But I’m luckier than most for this, because if I’m walking home after dark, it’s down a west-facing incline with a pretty good view of the sky.

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I have to wait about an hour. Better than Jesus in any case.

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Bloody cloud cover!

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Yeah Thursday night was “just” partly cloudy and I managed to make out the moon, but not the conjunction. Looks pretty bad for the next few days.

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I am really disappointed.

I heard a rumor this great conjunction will signal the second coming of Christ. Any truth in that?

I mean the world is pretty fucked up so it’d be quite a good time for JC to pay us a visit.

Obviously we missed the peak of the conjunction (at least in Taipei); they’ll still be close together and visible for a few days yet, but things don’t look good for visibility.

Photo of what we missed. Pictures like this make me think I’d really like to have a telescope - but who am I kidding, it’d never leave the closet. The four Galilean moons are easy to see in a line; apparently the dot to the right of Saturn is Titan, although I’m surprised it seems so far off the plane of the rings.