Christmas Star: 1st Time in 800 Years
Jupiter and Saturn Will Align
Christmas Light Show
On this year's winter solstice December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely that, from Earth, they will appear as though they have merged. This radiant point of light from the two planets hasn't been seen in 800 years or since March 4, 1226. The celestial phenomenon is known as the Christmas Star and The Star of Bethlehem.
According to astronomers, alignments between Jupiter and Saturn are very rare. The alignment is known as the Great Conjunction and happens every twenty years. But this year's light show is exceptionally rare and was last seen in the Middle Ages. As one astronomers put it, the two planets will appear to have a distance between them of less than the diameter of a full moon. From Earth, they will look as though they have converged into a brilliant flash of light.
Experts say check out the southwest sky about 45 minutes after sunset on December 21 to see the celestial event. Also during the fourth week of December, the Christmas Star will be visible from most places on Earth at about one hour after sunset in the northern sky. This celestial light show will not be seen again until March 15, 2080.