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LIVE! See the Great Conjunction (Christmas Star) of 2020

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*Update 12/21: Skies are perfectly clear here in Flagstaff, Arizona! Below is tonight’s Great Conjunction Program Schedule (all times MST; schedule subject to change).

0:00:00 | Dr. Jeff Hall, Lowell Observatory Director: Welcome
00:04:31 | Dr. Michael West, astronomer: Winter and Summer Solstice Around the World
00:24:24 | Jos Schindler, educator: Introduction to the 2020 Great Conjunction
00:46:08 | Dr. Jennifer Hanley, planetary scientist: The Icy Moons of Jupiter and Saturn
01:07:45 | Dr. Larry Wasserman, planetary scientist: Thoughts on This (and Other) Great Conjunctions
01:23:42 | Jos Schindler, educator: Recap of the 2020 Great Conjunction
01:32:10 | Dr. Joe Llama, astronomer: Conjunctions in Other Planetary Systems
01:49:09 | Kevin Schindler, historian: Historic Conjunctions and the Christmas Star
02:09:37 | Dr. Nick Moskovitz, planetary scientist: Ursids Meteor Shower
02:28:21 | Dr. Jeff Hall, Lowell Observatory Director: Closing Remarks

Once every 20 years, the two largest planets in our solar system—Jupiter and Saturn—appear to meet in Earth’s skies. This “Great Conjunction” happens next on December 21, 2020, but this time, Jupiter and Saturn will be closer than they’ve been in nearly 400 years. December 21 also happens to be the night of the winter solstice, and the peak of the Ursid meteor shower.

For most Great Conjunctions, Jupiter and Saturn are separated by about 1 degree, which is the width of two full moons in the sky. This year, they will be separated by just one-tenth of a degree, which is one-fifth the size of the full moon. A Great Conjunction happens every 20 years, but the last time Jupiter and Saturn were this close was the year 1623.

Join Lowell Observatory at 5pm MST on Monday, December 21, 2020, to celebrate the Great Conjunction with an evening of telescope viewing and commentary from Lowell’s own astronomers and educators.

#ChristmasStar

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