December 21 2020

Today marks to very special celestial events. It is the The Great Conjunction, also known online as the Christmas Star, and The Winter Solstice.

I wanted to address both again for quick reference and perhaps ease any disappointment if the weather does not cooperate.


The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

This has been called the Christmas Star because in the sky, both Jupiter and Saturn may appear close enough to look like a single bright start.

They will be separated by less than 1º, which will be easy to see with the naked it. However, with a telescope both in view will be better than Galileo has with his first telescope in 1623. That was the last timer they were this close.


NASA: Planetary Alignment

We are seeing Jupiter and Saturn right next to each other only because of this position on all orbits.  Saturn is ‘behind’ Jupiter, but they are not close.

Great Conjuction Jupiter Saturn NASA_B



NASA: Where To Look (if the sky if clear)

Where: Look just to the left and up from where sunset occurs.

When: Best about 20 to 30 minutes AFTER sunset.  It’s early today at 4:43 PM.  So you should see it by 5:15 PM, if the sky is clear.

How Long: You have about 1 hour until the planets set.

Great Conjuction Jupiter Saturn NASA


How Close Will The Planets Be?

Dr. James O’Donogue made this visualization. The planets will NOT be in front of the moon. They will not be near it!  However, if they were by a full moon, this is how close they would appear to scale.


Conjuctiono perspective with moon


What We Saw Yesterday 

This was my view on Sunday, just one day prior to the closest pass.  With my iPhone it only looks like a bright dot… but wait!

My Conjuction view December 20


Telescope View

Local astronomy photographer James Willinghan captured this amazing view on Sunday, also one day prior to the closest approach.  He labeled both planets and their moons.

Jupiter Sturn Telescope James Willinghan



What if you miss it?

If the clouds are in your way, yes you will miss the positions. But they will remain pretty close in view for the next week or two as they slowly move apart. If you missed the last week, you can still find a clear evening to capture this.



Winter Solstice

Today was also the lowest angle of the sun all year! Here is a breakdown from the Baltimore perspective.


Winter Solstice Sun In Baltimore

Winter Solstice noon sun Baltimore



Today December 21 is the shortest day of the year. It is the lowest sun angle for us in the sky. But this is NOT the latest sunrise and earliest sunset, nor the farthest from the sun.


December 21 winter solstice earth sun


It is a strange result of the tilt of our earth, while the sun is rounding the corner on the elliptical orbit. In fact, Earth reaches the closest point to the sun on January 2 (2021). This is called perihelion and we are about 3 million miles closer to the sun than in July. But it doesn’t influence our temperatures.

Latest Sunrise: 7:25 AM on December 27

Earliest Sunset: 4:43 PM on December 1 -14 (about the same for 2 weeks).


Comparing Sun Angle

At Noon on The Winter Solstice, the highest sun angle of the say will be 27.3º above the horizon.  This is the same height above the horizon in Baltimore as only 8:15 AM on the Summer Solstice.

Sun Angle Noon Winter Solstice Compared To Summer Solstice Morning



Gaining Daylight

We begin to add 2 more seconds of sunlight tomorrow. It may not be noticeable, but it increase each day will grow, and be a full minute longer by December 27.  Fast forward to January 7 and we begin to gain an additional 1 minute or more each day.


These two charts show the sun times and change of daylight length each day from today through January 11.

sunlight Baltimore December


sunlight Baltimore January


Christmas Arctic Front

This is all about the timing to determine how much snow can fall and when we get into the deep freeze. We still see roughly a 12 hour difference between the two main models.

Click here to see my report on this

December 20 Christmas Cold Front Snow


FITF Shop Open

My ‘bonus’ daughter Jaiden and wife showing off our popular Maryland Hoodies. Unisex and women’s items all produced in Maryland.

Click here to see this and many other new items.

FITF MD Hoodie Jaiden


NEW Hoddies ShannonJaiden




December 5 Snowfall History Start Of Faith in the Flakes

Also see:


Winter Outlook Series

Winter Outlook 2021 Tropical Hints

Winter Outlook Polar Vortex Arctic Oscillation

Winter Outlook Solar Minimum

Early Winter October

Winter Outlook Series Weather Folklore


Winter Outlook 2021 La Nina Advisory

Winter Outlooks Farmers Almanacs



14 Local Maryland Pages (and York PA)

We have made a page for Maryland Weather which gives you the current conditions for 14 present area locations.

Local Hourly Forecasts and Local Radar
Central Maryland



Bel Air

Carroll County/Westminster




Ocean City

Dover DE

Southern Maryland

Patuxent River 

Washington DC





National Weather Service Adds Maryland Cecil And Garrett Counties




Maryland Weather Page

Maryland Weather 

I wanted to keep it simple. Just the basics for a quick view at any time.

Maryland Weather Just In Weather




Please share your thoughts, best weather pics/video, or just keep in touch via social media

Facebook: Justin Berk, Meteorologist

Twitter: @JustinWeather

Instagram: justinweather



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New Caps and Hats 

FITF Hats 2020


FITF Hat Winter Caps 2020