This week, during this Christian season, humanity will be able to enjoy an astronomical event, a once-in a lifetime sight in the sky that has not happened in 800 years. And that is the alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, better known as the Star of Bethlehem, which according to Christian tradition was followed to reach the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
According to Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, was followed by the 3 Magi, Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa, to reach the birthplace of Christ.
This event is set to take place on Dec. 21, which also marks the Winter Solstice, bringing the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night. It is also known as the “Great Conjunction.” Don’t worry if you can’t catch it on Dec. 21. According to the Adler Planetarium, the planets can be seen as early as Dec. 16 and 17, but the “real show” takes place “the evenings of the 20th through the 22nd.”
This is a rare phenomenon, with a special meaning in this Christmas season, and that according to astronomical studies a conjunction this close has not occurred since March 4, 1226, that is, since the Middle Ages. This will still be quite a striking sight, a natural phenomenon occurring when the two planets come together.
Those looking to see the star will want to look above the southwestern or western horizon after sunset. The best time to see them is about an hour after your local sunset. The symbolic Christmas Star will be visible anywhere in the world.
The event has been dubbed the “Christmas Star,” because some astronomers have theorized the “Star of Bethlehem” could have been a rare conjunction involving both Jupiter and Saturn.
The astronomer Patrick Hartigan says that the event will not be repeated until March 15, 2080 and then it will not happen again until after the year 2400, so it would be worth taking advantage and see this. Happy stargazing.