For the first time in nearly 800 years, a Christmas Star will grace the night sky as we edge closer to the holy day on December 25.
Director of the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at Milwaukee Public Museum Bob Bonadurer says Jupiter and Saturn will begin to align this month- to create a large, bright orb in the sky.
“On December 21, (the two planets) are going to almost appear as one. They’re going to be 0.1 degrees apart. That means if you hold your pinky out at arms length, it will be .01 the width of your pinky. That’s extremely close. It will be very hard to see Saturn; they will almost seem to merge as one,” said Bonadurer.
Many people are calling it the ‘Christmas Star’ or the ‘Star of Bethlehem,’ similar to what the wise men experienced in the Bible Nativity Story.
“That’s a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn some 2,000 years ago in 7 B.C. was one of the possibilities that historians and theologians have thought of as a possible Christmas star,” Bonadurer explains.
You can start looking at the night sky tonight to see the planets begin to merge.
The best time to see the celestial event will be about an hour after sunset; look toward the Southwest portion of the sky.
Be sure you have a clear shot at the horizon with no trees or houses blocking the view.
It’s a spectacular gift to round out an unforgettable year.
Find more information at mpm.edu.