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Rare Great Conjunction of planets visible Monday evening

(HOI) -- The Great Conjunction will be visible Monday evening in the southwestern sky over the Heart of Illinois. During this rare occurrence, Jupiter will align with Saturn, creating a bright, start-like object in the sky.

The Great Conjunction occurs nearly every twenty years, however this year's is especially rare. Not only are Jupiter and Saturn crossing each other at the same time, but they are also passing at the closest distance between each other since the Middle Ages.

The 2020 Great Conjunction has been nicknamed the "Christmas Star" due to its occurrence a few days prior to the Christmas holiday. The two planets will be so close to each other in the sky, that they will give the appearance of one bright star.

A viewer photo captured on December 20 shows the close appearance of Jupiter and Saturn.

Viewers in the Heart of Illinois will have a good chance to observe the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn this evening, with prime viewing conditions about an hour after sunset.

Communities to the far northeast may experience some more cloud cover as a weather disturbance departs. Overall, partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, though the least amount of cloud cover is expected over the southwestern half of the viewing area.

AdvanceCast depiction of cloud cover at 7 PM Monday.

Viewer photos of the 2020 Great Conjunction can be sent to the Heart of Illinois ABC Facebook page.

Joe Strus

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