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Christmas Star to light up sky Monday night for the first time in centuries

great conjunction jupiter saturn

 

Staff Reports

 

On Monday night, December 21st in the hour after sunset an amazing phenomenon will be visible in the sky - The Great Conjunction of 2020 as astronomers call it. For the Biblical faithful, it’s known as The Christmas Star or The Star of Bethlehem as told about in the Gospel of Matthew.

This is when Saturn and Jupiter will put on a show that hasn’t been seen in 800 years. The two planets will appear to be so close from Earth on December 21 that they may look like one shining star - although they are actually about 450 million miles apart. Officials say the two planets will be easily seen by the naked eye. The last

time this happened was on March 4, 1226, almost 800 years ago. The phenomenon last occured in 1623 but could not be seen from Earth at that time. 

“Look for them low in the southwest in the hour after sunset,” NASA recommended on its website. “And on December 21st, the two giant planets will appear just a tenth of a degree apart - that’s about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length.”

If you miss it Monday night, you’ll have to wait another 60 years to see it as it will occur again on March 15, 2080. And after that another 380 years in the year 2400.

The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, according to Wikipedia, appears in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew where “wise men from the East” are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem. There, they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask him: Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”