Jupiter to Lap Saturn on December 21

As you gaze into the horizon this evening, take the time to focus on two bright objects above the far horizon. These points of light are not stars, they are the planets Jupiter and Saturn. As the next weeks roll on towards the Winter Solstice, these planets will appear the approach each other inexorably.

The following is a direct quote from a news source: “Emily Lakdawalla, a freelance space writer, said planetary orbits can be compared to a kind of running track, with the sun in the middle. If Jupiter is running in circles closer to the inside, Saturn is walking at a slower pace farther out.

“Jupiter is lapping Saturn,” she said.

“Given the pace of their orbits — Jupiter takes about 12 Earth years to circle the sun compared to Saturn’s 30 — the two actually align in their paths roughly every two decades.

“But there’s a catch: Because each track has a slightly different tilt, very close conjunctions like the one set for later this month are rare. The last time Saturn and Jupiter were close enough to create a “double planet” seen from Earth was in March 1226, Brown said.”

Imagine bearing witness to an event that has not happened since the year before Ghengis Khan died.

So enjoy watching these two planets creep closer and closer to each other. I know I will.

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