12.04.2020

Coffee Talking: The Star of Bethlehem or 'Christmas Star' is bright for viewing this month; especially December 21st

nasa.gov

earthsky.org

 

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Michael Zuber caught Jupiter and Saturn – the 2 bright “stars” (really planets) above the building in this photo – from Terlingua, Texas, on November 11, 2020. You can’t miss these worlds in Earth’s sky now. Jupiter is the brightest starlike object up every evening! In a dark sky, as you can see, they are near the starry band of the Milky Way. Thank you, Michael.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Michael Zuber caught Jupiter and Saturn – the 2 bright “stars” (really planets) above the building in this photo – from Terlingua, Texas, on November 11, 2020. You can’t miss these worlds in Earth’s sky now. Jupiter is the brightest starlike object up every evening! In a dark sky, as you can see, they are near the starry band of the Milky Way. Thank you, Michael.

 

As we head into December, Jupiter and Saturn appear to be getting closer and closer in the night sky.  Astronomers call it a great conjunction, but it’s also been dubbed the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem” because of its brightness and proximity to Dec. 25.

“These conjunctions occur every 20 years, and this is an especially close one!” according to the NASA website

This will be the closest conjunction since 1623 and will officially take place on Dec. 21, although the “Christmas Star” will be visible the entire fourth week of the month, according to EarthSky.

The planets will appear in the southwest sky about an hour after sunset.

You’ll recognize Jupiter and Saturn easily, from now through the end of the year. Jupiter is brighter than any star. Saturn is not as bright as Jupiter, but it’s as bright as the brightest stars and shines with a distinctly golden color. Also, Jupiter is near Saturn! Saturn is just to the east of Jupiter on the sky’s dome. Unlike the twinkling stars, Jupiter and Saturn both shine steadily.

 

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