NASA offers once-in-a-lifetime recommendations on Jupiter and Saturn

(NEXSTAR) – If you look at the skies on those dark December nights, you may have noticed that the two brightest objects are sitting next to each other. Jupiter and Saturn are going to appear in the skies more than they have in 400 years.

The two planets are so close together that they appear to be in contact with each other, separated by one-fifth the diameter of a full moon.

“They’re not close to space – they’re still millions of kilometers apart,” said NASA astronaut Henry Troop. “But… they seem to be two very close points in the sky… in fact they are so close that you can cover both planets with your pink finger if you stretch the length of your pink arms.”

Astronauts refer to it as a suspension when using square materials, but because it incorporates the two largest gas giants in our solar system, it is technically an “excellent combination. “As the event kicks off on holiday week, many have started calling this shape the“ Christmas Star. “

There are online stories about the viral Went event, NASA responded by creating a video primer for the December 21st event. According to Troop, this event should be visible to almost anyone in the U.S. with a clear view on the horizon.

“Looking up the planets is very easy if you look up. If you see the sunset – that means if you are in the western and southwestern hemispheres – you will see Saturn and Jupiter. You want to go out 45 minutes after sunset. The skies would be a little darker. You do not have to wait until nightfall. Then watch the sunset, ”says Troop, an astronomer at NASA headquarters. “You’ll have about an hour to watch Saturn and Jupiter.”

Troop says that Jupiter looks like the brightest star in the sky (it is not a star, in fact it reflects the sun). Saturn disappears slightly and can be seen to the left of Jupiter above.

Troop says the planets are so bright that even people in big cities can see them and take high-quality pictures. If you can’t pick it up Monday night, he says, the two largest planets in the solar system will appear on the 20th and 22nd.

“Anyone can go out and see those planets,” Troop said.

If you plan to take pictures, NASA has created a guide Taking a photo of the best combination.

As of March 4, 1226, the nearest Jupiter and Saturn have been seen on the 21st. There was a close reunion of the planets 400 years ago, but that event was not seen by many of us on Earth,

On average, the best combinations occur every 19.6 years. After this month ‘s event, NASA says you have to hang in there until 2080 to find the next best combination of proximity.