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Rare Bear: Christmas Star

If you look sky-ward Sunday evening, just after sunset, you may see the Christmas Star.

The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, the largest planets in our universe, comes every twenty years or so…but is seldom seen because it occurs in daylight.

However, on Sunday night it can be seen for about 45 minutes after sunset.

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It is also an especially rare sight in 2020 because the planets will be so close together. It is 400 years since they were this close…and  they haven’t been observable at night since the year 1226.

The Christmas Star…Star of Bethlehem which guided the wisemen to Jesus, was a great conjunction and since then these two planets pass each other every twenty years.

However, in 2000,  the daylight just about obliterated the conjunction. This time, it will be dark enough to watch the two align – low in the South-Western sky.

In fact you can see them even now moving slowly closer together…unlike the stars which twinkle, these two heavenly bodies are solid brightness which makes it easy to see on clear nights.

As Henry Throop, a NASA Astronomer says: “We’ll be able to see Jupiter on the inside lane approaching Saturn all month and finally overtaking it on Sunday the 23rd.”

Candy Canes and Mistletoe,
Pretty trees that wink and glow,
Colored bulbs that pierce the night
Christmas
‘Tis a wondrous sight.
But even brighter
Shines the light
Of the Christmas Star
God’s Holy Light.
Merry Christmas

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