The incredibly rare ‘Christmas Star’ should be seen on Devon in the coming days.
Exider John McLean of the Laboratory, a fellow member of the Royal Astronomical Society;Christmas The star ‘is the connection of the two planets; Jupiter and Saturn, they appear very close, they look like an object in the early morning sky on December 21st.
He said: ” This connection has not taken place since December 1623, but it is not known because it was so close to the sun at that time.
The last ‘Great Conjunction’ took place in 1226, so this year’s event is the ‘first’ in 800 years.
This month’s connection will be at 1.30pm, with the planets at 0.06 degrees southwest, so during the day.
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The planets are clearly visible after sunset in Devon at an altitude of 10 degrees above the horizon in the south-southwest.
When the two planets appear to be very close together, Saturn is actually twice as far away from Earth as Jupiter.
December 21, the winter solstice, is the shortest day of the year.
” So, the ‘Christmas star’ – not so much, but very special. ” ‘
The two largest planets in our solar system are Jupiter and Saturn.
They appear to be getting closer to each other, which gives the impression of a ‘twin planet’.
In fact, as NASA recently described, they are actually hundreds of millions of miles away.
However, the gas giants will be closer to the Christmas night sky than they have been for centuries.
This link, referred to as the ‘Christmas Star’ or the ‘Star of Bethlehem’, will be visible in two weeks.
The next time the Christmas star is visible from Earth is expected to be 2080.
Astronomers who spoke with Forbes magazine said such an alignment was very rare to observe.
Patrick Hardigan, an astronomer at Rice University in Texas, said: “Alignments between these two planets are very rare, occurring once every 20 years.
“This connection is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets appear to each other.”
He added: “On the morning of March 4, 1226, you must go back to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”
When will it be known?
The ‘Christmas Star’ will be visible to Stargazers on the evening of December 21st this month.
It has been reported that stargazers should expect the celestial phenomenon to present itself after sunset.
According to Forbes, it can be found anywhere on earth where the sky is clear.
That means people in the UK should look for this event from 3:53 pm – until sunset.
After sunset the ‘star’ on the horizon will be very low, requiring telescopes or telescopes.
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