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Closer to the stars

Cosmic tête-à-tête on December 21, 2021

The desire to be closer to the stars is as old as mankind itself.

A cosmic tête-à-tête of a special kind will take place on December 21, 2020. Jupiter and Saturn are in a so-called great conjunction. They are drawing so close to each other that it seems as though they were just one single star.

This phenomenon occurs every 20 years. However, the last similarly close encounter, which was also clearly visible, happened almost 800 years ago. It took place shortly before sunrise on March 4, 1226.

The desire to be closer to the stars is as old as mankind itself. This fascination was the basis for the development of modern natural sciences and thus also of long-range optics.

Do you know who else was fascinated by the stars? Our founder: Wilhelm Swarovski.

Stars Sky Landscape Saturn Jupiter City GettyImages-1190638948
Stars Sky Landscape Jupiter Saturn GettyImages-678826043
The Star of Bethlehem - was it Saturn and Jupiter?

There are various theories about what the "real" Star of Bethlehem might have looked like. Experts have been discussing this for centuries. One of the theories is that at that time the planets Jupiter and Saturn were also in a great conjunction, and therefore appeared like a big bright star.

The desire to be closer to the stars is as old as mankind itself.

The climax of the approach

Observation of the Christmas double star

Already a few days before the great conjunction, the approaching planets are a worthwhile sight to behold. Would you like to observe this sky spectacle? Then you should gaze at the sky between five and six o'clock pm (CET). To get closer to the stars, we recommend the EL 10x50 and 12x50 binoculars or ATX (STX) 30-70x95 spotting scopes.

Swarovski Optik Binocular EL 50 Green
Swarovski Optik telescopes ATX STX BTX family
Graphic great Conjunction Jupiter Saturn Skizze BR 1

When Jupiter and Saturn meet

A cosmic tête-à-tête of a special kind

On December 21, 2020, Jupiter will narrowly pass Saturn from the Earth's perspective. The two planets will appear only six arc minutes apart that evening - they won't be this close again for another sixty years. The arrows mark where Jupiter and Saturn will be at just after five o'clock pm each evening during the month. On December 21, they are visible in the southwest at that time, about a hand's breadth above the horizon. Jupiter's arrow is the brighter, slightly shorter one of the two. Source: BR, Skyobserver

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A tent under the stars Outdoor history GettyImages-576583816The milestones of optical inventionsCHANGING OUR VIEW OF THE STARS Reading time: 5 min.