The ‘Christmas Star’ Is Coming For The First Time In 800 Years

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The end of 2020 will mark a celestial event that has not been seen in 800 years. Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in the solar system, will form what looks like a double planet, dubbed as the Christmas star. This type of event has not been seen since the Middle Ages, making it quite a historic event.

It will occur on December 21st, 2020 after sunset, the day that marks the winter solstice. “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 one another,” says Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan. “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.”

Behold, the Christmas Star, and when you can view it

A 'Christmas Star' Is Coming For The First Time In 800 Years
The Christmas Star / YouTube Screenshot/Stellarium

Between December 16th and the 25th, the two planets will be separated by less than a full moon. Hartigan further elaborates, “On the evening of closest approach, on Dec. 21, they will look like a double planet, separated by only fifth the diameter of the full moon.”

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“For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.” Also known as the star of Bethlehem, it will be viewable anywhere on Earth, though Hartigan notes that the further north someone is, the less chance they have to see it. These two planets will not be this close again until March 15, 2080, and then sometime after the year 2400. Be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on this rare event!

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The post The ‘Christmas Star’ Is Coming For The First Time In 800 Years appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Jane Kenney

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