Northern Michigan in Focus: The Great Conjunction

It takes Saturn nearly three decades to go around the sun, and it takes 12 years for Jupiter.

So when they conjunct, it’s something special.

“It was believed that every human being comes from a star,” said Mary Stewart Adams, star lore historian.

The stories go back centuries. They even pre-date the birth of Christ.

Greek mythology describes Perseus being born under a shower of golden stars, but what was actually going on?

Was it the star of Bethlehem, ancient Greek religion or something more scientific?

“Then trying to also honor the majesty of seeing something like this in the sky.  When you look at Saturn and Jupiter, I mean the word awesome isn’t really even enough. There is something almost holy about it,” explained Mary.

It’s called ‘the great conjunction’. This happens when Saturn and Jupiter meet and look like one planet from the ground. 12 16 20 The Great

“The last great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter happened in May of 2000 they happen every 20 years,” explained Mary.

But this event is different. It’s actually on the solstice and this is the closest Saturn and Jupiter have been in 800 years.

This Monday December 21, you have a small window to see the event – and only if there’s no clouds.

“About 4:59 p.m. on Monday, and then we have some twilight which means we still have some light in the sky. Then we will start to see Saturn and Jupiter in the southwest sky. Then, they will set by 7:30 p.m. so we have a very short window we can actually see them on that day, if the sky is clear,” said Mary.

Believe what you want when you look up that day, but the way the world has been this year, us all being cooped up, wearing masks and being apart from our loved ones…

“I’m thinking, to me, it’s like the emergence of a butterfly from a chrysalis. We’ve all been this chrysalis, now we can emerge, perhaps maybe that is what it means. I am hoping that’s what it means.”

I know we’d all like to spread our wings and fly.


Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus