Tonight’s Rare Celestial Event Hasn’t Happened in About 800 Years
The wind is expected to pick up considerably tonight in the Tri-Cities, potentially bringing some cloud cover, but as of now, clear skies are dominating for an event in the nighttime heavens that has not happened since March 4, 1226.
The "Christmas Star" will actually be formed by the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn as viewed from Earth. They'll appear to be so close together that they'll form a bright "double planet" - a phenomenon not observed from Earth for almost 800 years.
Your best chance of spotting it with your naked eye is if you are facing southwest. It should be a gorgeous sight. Your level of magnification may vary.
You might imagine some of the more amazing telescopes around the world will be all over this and you would be correct. Catch some of the more other-worldly telescopic contraptions here, here and here.
Your next chance to see anything like this "great conjunction" again won't come until March 15, 2080.
Also, just released in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary, take a gander at some of the most amazing shots ever captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has published dozens of new images of what it describes as 30 "celestial gems." These gems include galaxies, star clusters and massive clouds of gas and material coalescing into the beginnings of stars and planets. That is some nerd cool, right there.
The images at the link below were captured with the help of Hubble, but many of them can be seen without a powerful telescope, and even with something as simple as a pair of binoculars.
Take a gaze at what NASA has to offer here.