December 23, 2020

Rare Astronomical Event Occurred The Night Of December 21st, 'Great Conjunction' Of Jupiter And Saturn Forming A Christmas Star In The Heavenlies. It Was A Sight Not Seen Since 1623!

CBS This Morning published December 21, 2020: Christmas Star 2020: Jupiter, Saturn to meet in rare "great conjunction".

On Monday evening, the two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will appear to merge into a single source of light. It's the first visible conjunction of the giants in more than 800 years. Correspondent Mark Strassmann explains why we may not have another chance to see such an astronomical sight in your lifetime.
written by Jonathan Kegges, Meteorologist
Monday December 21, 2020

The two gas giants haven’t been this close since the 1600s.

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a celestial event hundreds of years in the making. Conjunctions are common, occurring when any objects from our perspective get close to each other in space. The Great Conjunction is rare.

The Great Conjunction happens when Jupiter and Saturn get very close to each from our perspective. Not every Great Conjunction, however, is created equal and that’s what makes the one occurring on the winter solstice so rare and special.

“Each Great Conjunction has different angular separations, or the distances between the two planets can vary by a bit depending on how everything is lined up,” said Seth Mayo, curator of astronomy at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach.

The last time the two planets were this close to each other, from Earth’s point of view, was back in 1623. “The problem for this Great Conjunction is that it occurred very near sunset, so the Sun’s glare most likely obscured the pair of planets,” Mayo said. “The last observable time these planets were this close was the year 1226.”

Because the planets will be so close together near Christmas, it’s being dubbed the “Christmas Star” by some.

On Dec. 21, the two gas giants will be separated by only .1 degree. To the naked eye, it will likely appear as two distinguishable separate points, rather than one “star”, but it does depend on one’s eyesight and atmospheric conditions.

If you have a telescope, the two planets will show up in the same field of view.

Also in that field of view will reside the biggest moons of the two bodies. A telescope or binoculars will be needed to see the moons.

Beyond Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will begin to move away from each other. This trend will continue for the next ten years before the two giants start to move closer together again during the 2030s. This will set up the next Great Conjunction in 2040, although that one will not be as brilliant as 2020′s.

The planets won’t be this close again until 2080. In an extremely rare fashion, Jupiter completely covers Saturn. That won’t happen again until 7541.

The Great Conjunction occurs because Jupiter has the inside track while orbiting the Sun in our solar system. Since Jupiter’s orbit is smaller than Saturn’s, Jupiter moves around the sun faster and catches up to the Ringed Planet. Think of it as NASCAR race with the infield being the Sun. The car that has the inside lane gets around the infield faster than a car on the outside.

“On very rare occasions, these great conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn can occur multiple times in a year, known as triple conjunctions, due to Earth overtaking these planets with its much faster orbit,” Mayo said. “That won’t happen again until the 2238-2239 time frame, so we have some waiting to do.”

The last time there was a triple conjunction was 1981.


When: Dec 21, 2020

Where: Southwest sky about 30 min. after sunset

Notes: The planets will gradually get lower in the sky as the evening progresses so the earlier the better.

You do not need a telescope or binoculars to see, but they will enhance the viewing experience.

You will notice those two bright dots, Jupiter and Saturn get closer and closer to each other every night until Dec. 21.
Hi everyone. While the world was in awe watching the rare astronomical event being displayed in the sky my 15 1/2 year old diabetic cat Matthew's health took a sudden turn for the worse late Monday night. Matthew died in my arms as I held him tight against my chest on Tuesday at 2:00am. I sat on my desk chair crying that ugly heart wrenching wailing cry holding him tight against my chest for one hour after he died. I took his body to the vet's office later that morning. I cried at the mention of his name. I cried as I kept replaying the experience of him dying and me feeling helpless over and over in my mind. My grief was profound and when I felt it growing into guilt that I didn't do enough I sat down and I prayed. I knew I needed to take my attention off of my overwhelming sorrow and that feeling of guilt that was starting to creep in and turn my attention to God. This is what I prayed:

I trust and believe in you Lord God almighty. Lord, help my unbelief and doubt. Teach me to remember Your exceedingly great works, Your benevolence, and the benefits that You've brought into my life. Father God remind me to lean not on my understanding or that which is in front of me, but fully trust in Your Sovereign hand. Father God in this season as I wait patiently on Your deliverance from this grief, from this heart ache, from this feeling of loss, I trust that You are faithful and will do it. Thank you for building my faith and teaching me more of Your ways during this time. I love you Father God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my soul. Amen. 

Every time the spirit of grief grew stronger, I would cry out saying Holy Spirit I need to feel Your presence, I need you to fill my home with Your presence. I would lift up my hands and say Lord Jesus, please take this grief from me, please take this feeling of loss from me, please take this feeling of guilt from me. I need Your help Lord.

After praying, I did feel the atmosphere around me start to grow lighter. I then allowed myself to just lay on the couch wrapped in my comfy blanket and feel whatever I needed to feel. I kind of watched Criminal Minds marathon. I looked up stories on the internet about people grieving their cat dying and I watched a few videos about grieving over the loss of your cat. I read articles about animals souls returning to heaven and how God created all living things. God created all animals.

As I slept, I had this bizarre dream I want to share with you. There was a scene in the dream where I was waiting in line for the public bathroom. There were 3 women ahead of me in line who appeared to be friends. They were having a conversation and one of them was telling the other not to do something. She was being very negative toward her friend. The 3 women were so animated, I couldn't help overhearing their conservation. I chimed in and told the woman that was being chided by her friend to go ahead and live her life, enjoy it, take that chance if it doesn't work out at least you tried and if it does work out even better. Then I paused and said out loud, "Wow, I should be taking my own advice." I continued to encourage that same woman and again I paused and said out load, "My gosh, I need to take my own advice." Then a trippy thing happened. The woman I was encouraging spoke and said to me, "I am here with you. I am watching over you." The woman who said that stepped back in disbelief and said, "What just happened? Why did I say that?" I smiled as my heart welled up with so much love and I said, "That was Jesus Christ. HE IS the King of kings." At that moment, I felt so safe and secure. Then I woke up with a feeling of peace over me.

As I went about my morning routine I felt like I was being hugged tight from the inside. When I was telling my mom about the dream I just shared with you and talking about Matthew and his personality my flesh wanted to cry and at that very moment I was spiritually restrained from crying. Even now as I type this I feel comforted. I wanted to share a picture of Matthew with you in this post so I had to look through my cat pictures. If I had looked at Matthew's picture yesterday, I know I would have broke down crying. But right now, I can look at his picture and feel love, the love we shared with each other. I know in my heart that my Matthew is in a better place with no pain feeling healthy, alive and vibrant. I was blessed to have him as a part of my life for 15 1/2 years.
It is written in Revelations 5:13, And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
UPDATE 12/23/20 at 4:20pm: For those of you wondering, my cat Matthew started urinating in his sleep first week of September 2020. I took him in to see the Vet to have them do a full physical. The doctor called me to let me know that my cat Matthew tested positive for diabetes. The vet went on to explain that taking car of a diabetic cat would take a lot of commitment on my part and asked if I was up for the challenge. I said yes of course I am this is my cat and I want him to be as healthy and comfortable as I can help him be. The vet also went on to tell me that my cat Matthew had many infected teeth that needed to be removed and gums cleaned with surgery. But that surgery would have to be postponed until my cat Matthew's diabetes was under control with 1 shot of insulin every 12 hours and a change in his diet. I adapted quickly to the new changes and so did Matthew. He was still urinating in his sleep. The vet said him urinating in his sleep would eventually go away once his body insulin gets regulated. I was changing out the sheets and blankets every day or two. Then going to the laundromat to wash all of my sheets and blankets at the end of the week. But I didn't mind I did whatever it took to make us comfortable. It took two months for Matthew to get the okay from the vet to have his surgery that was scheduled for November 11th. Afterward, I had to be there for him during the 3 week recovery period from mouth surgery. He was doing well after recovery. Then this happened. I feel like he was snatched from me. I don't understand what went wrong. But what I do know is that it happened and I can't go back and change anything. It's already done and he is gone to be with Lord in heaven.

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