Retired teacher and amateur astronomer invites everyone to try and view the sky on Monday, Dec. 21 just after sunset when Juniper and Saturn will align. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Retired teacher and amateur astronomer invites everyone to try and view the sky on Monday, Dec. 21 just after sunset when Juniper and Saturn will align. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Jupiter and Saturn to align closest since Medieval times

The ‘great conjunction’ will take place Monday, Dec. 21 just after sunset

Should the sky be clear on the Monday, Dec. 21, solstice you may be able to view a spectacular sight when Jupiter and Saturn align the closest they have since Medieval time.

“Some people call it the ‘great conjunction’ because it’s the two biggest planets getting close together in the sky,” said Lynn Capling, a retired teacher and amateur astronomer in Williams Lake.

“It happens every 20 years but this particular conjunction is going to be .1 of a degree and with the naked eye it may almost look like one elongated star, but with binoculars you will see the two planets.”

Capling noted it will not be easy to see the conjunction because it will occur just after sunset.

It will be blocked by the hillsides and trees so it will be better to go south from Williams Lake on Highway 97 or west on Highway 20 where there is a better view of the sky in the southwest, she explained.

Read more: Earth’s wonders documented in Our Beautiful Resilient Planet

If people have been watching Jupiter and Saturn they will have noticed they are getting closer together through the fall, she added.

Using a small telescope, viewers will also be able to see Jupiter, its moons, and Saturn.

Any time from now until around Dec. 29 is worth looking up if there is a clear sky, she said.

Capling’s love of astronomy started as a child growing up in Chilliwack when she and her siblings would sleep outside to watch the sky go past — spying meteors and the odd satellite.

As a high school science teacher for almost 20 years in Williams Lake, she became more interested in astronomy and purchased some telescopes so she could show the students the stars and planets.

A favourite event for her students was a sleep-out on the roof of the Lake City Secondary Williams Lake campus she organized.

On Dec. 21 she hopes to venture out toward Highway 20 herself to view the conjunction in an area where there are not too many man-made lights.

“I may go out in the afternoon if it is clear to get a sense of how far I will need to go to see the planets,” she said.

Lynn lost her husband and astronomy partner, Stephen Capling, earlier this year.

The couple were together for 43 years and enjoyed exploring the skies as a favourite activity.

Read more: Star struck astronomers



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AstronomyWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
RCMP investigating suspicious trailer found abandoned in Cache Creek

Hazardous materials believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs were found

Williams Lake RCMP have announced a new officer in charge, Myron Friesen, of Grande Prairie, Alta. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Longtime Williams Lake RCMP officer in charge leaving, new replacement announced

Insp. Jeff Pelley has been with the Williams Lake RCMP since 2016

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A boil water advisory has been lifted for residents in Williams Lake as of Thursday, Jan. 21. (File photo)
Boil water advisory lifted for Westridge, golf course, Terra Ridge area

Potable water sample tests showed water safe to consume

Aside from being a retired librarian and member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, Lil Mack advocates or literacy with her own little book box out front at her Ninth Avenue North home. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: Advocating for literacy

Lil Mack has been with Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read