December 9, 2020: The Great Conjunction countdown: 12 days. Jupiter and Saturn are now 1.0° as the seemingly slow-motion conjunction continues to unfold in the southwestern sky. Farther east, rusty Mars is moving eastward in Pisces with noticeable nightly changes.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:07 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The Great Conjunction of 2020 is 12 days away! One hour after sunset, Saturn is less that a quarter of the way up in the sky in the southwest. Brighter Jupiter is 1.0° to the lower right of Saturn. The change is noticeable as the conjunction draws near.
Bright Mars is in the southeast, about halfway up in the sky as night falls. The planet continues to move eastward among the dim stars of Pisces.
With a binocular note that it above an imaginary line that connects Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc on the chart) and Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc).
Read about Mars during December.
Detailed note: One hour after sunset, Saturn is nearly 18° up in the southwest, 1.0° to the upper left of brighter Jupiter. The Jovian Giant continues to close the gap with the Ringed Wonder. Great Conjunction Countdown: 12 days. Mars is farther east, less than halfway up in the sky above the southeast horizon on a line that connects ε Psc and ζ Psc. The Red Planet is 1.6° to the lower left of ε Psc, 1.0° to the upper right of ζ Psc, and 2.0° to the upper left of 80 Psc. Use a binocular to spot the planet with the stars.
For more about the Great Conjunction, read our feature article. This is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.
Read more about the planets during December.
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