“Christmas Star” to Appear First Time in 800 Years
By Sachin Kalahasti
With Christmas fast approaching, many things are different this year. With restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic changing how families celebrate this year, there is still something that people can look out for: the famous “Christmas Star.”
Set to appear on December 21, the “Christmas Star” is when the two planets Jupiter and Saturn are nearly aligned with one another, creating a star that is known as the star of Bethlehem, which is also known as the “Christmas Star.” This also marks the first time the star will appear in a very long time, since the last time this occurred was 800 years ago.
When addressing the general public about this, the Space Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as the world-famous NASA, stated, “This will be quite a striking sight, but you will need to to look fast as both planets will shortly after sunset.” According to NBC Chicago, experts have stated that the star will be located at the “southwestern or western horizon.”
Michelle Nichols, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, stated that after the sun sets, people should wait around 45 minutes to see the star appear in the sky. She also said that the two planets are not going to be fully aligned with each other since, “They’re coming close together, but they are not going to merge…” This also means that they will not form a complete star, but they can show a near alignment between Jupiter and Saturn that resembles a “star.”
However, many people are afraid that they will not be able to see this rare occurrence in the time since they might not know where to look for it. The solution to this problem, proposed by associate director Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics Shane Larson, suggests to make a fist and point it where the sun has set while lining it up with the bottom of the horizon while the top shows Jupiter and Saturn being nearly aligned.
People might think they can miss out on this because it will appear someday in the future, but this is something that no one should miss. Because this is so rare to see, we will never see it again in our lifetimes, so it is better to not miss this rare phenomenon.
The “Christmas Star” that is set to appear December 21. (Travel + Leisure)