A winter solstice with a sky show

Ready for winter? We officially change seasons at 4:02 a.m. on Monday, December 21st when the winter solstice occurs. This is the day of the year with the longest night and shortest day. According to timeanddate.com Columbus will have only 9 hours, 55 minutes, and 51 seconds of daylight.

Sunrise, sunset, and daylight length for Columbus, MS 12/21/20

Coincidentally, during the evening of December 21st, there will be a “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn on the SW horizon after sunset. The two planets will be just 1/10 of a degree apart, the closest they have appeared in the sky in several hundred years. The brightest will be Jupiter with Saturn to the upper right.

Credit: Sky & Telescope / Gregg Dinderman

A telescope or pair of binoculars will certainly aid in viewing this event but you can easily see it with the naked eye. The two planets will remain close in the days before and after the 21st.

View from Columbus on Thursday, December 17th

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