The First ‘Star Of Bethlehem’ in 800 Years Will Appear This Christmas

The ‘Star of Beth­le­hem,’ also referred as the ‘Christ­mas Star,’ will make a his­tor­i­cal appear­ance this year for the first time in 800 years. The tim­ing could­n’t be more impor­tant at the end of a very tumul­tuous and try­ing time.

As 2020 comes to a close, the solar sys­tem has decid­ed to grace us with a cos­mic Christ­mas mir­a­cle that has­n’t been wit­nessed in near­ly 800 years. On Dec. 21 (aka the Decem­ber sol­stice), Jupiter and Sat­urn will align so close­ly in the night sky that they’ll almost appear to col­lide from our van­tage point here on Earth, cre­at­ing a radi­ant point of light often referred to as the “Star of Beth­le­hem” or the “Christ­mas Star.”

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a clos­er align­ment between these objects vis­i­ble in the night sky.”

“Align­ments between these two plan­ets are rather rare, occur­ring once every 20 years or so, but this con­junc­tion is excep­tion­al­ly rare because of how close the plan­ets will appear to be to one anoth­er,” said Patrick Har­ti­gan, an astronomer at Rice Uni­ver­si­ty, accord­ing to Forbes. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a clos­er align­ment between these objects vis­i­ble in the night sky.”

The event, some­times referred to as The Great Con­junc­tion, occurs rough­ly every 19 to 20 years, but this is the clos­est the plan­ets will line up in the night sky since the Mid­dle Ages. Tech­ni­cal­ly, Sat­urn will be 10 au (astro­nom­i­cal units) from Earth, and Jupiter will be 5 au away, but they will appear to be less than the diam­e­ter of a full moon apart.

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