Jupiter and Saturn may have looked to join together three times as they bounced about each other in the sky during a period of conjunction during the year 7 B.C., when Jesus was purportedly born. It's possible that the combined light in the sky was recorded as a star and connected with the birth of Jesus, and...
On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky in what astronomers call the "great conjunction"—also known as the "Christmas Star"—marking the planets' closest meeting in almost 400 years. The last time there were three major planets in Earth's orbit aligned this closely was in 1556, when it was observed by both Copernicus and Tycho Brahe.
The three planets are grouped together because they appear in the same part of the sky from our vantage point on Earth. From north to south, they are Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. This alignment only occurs once every four years or so, so when you see it, don't miss out on these amazing sights!
In addition to being a great sight in itself, this alignment has significant implications for those who observe it. The Christmas Star was originally called the "Conjunctive Nodes" because it marks the point where Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars converge on Earth. It is now known that this conjuncture only happens at certain points on Earth, not exactly where we would expect based on where the planets are located in their orbits. So instead we use astronomical tools to determine where they actually are at Christmastime, then look for another conjuncture in the new year when the stars will be again aligned.
NASA's suggestions for seeing Jupiter and Saturn glow as "Christmas Stars" in 2020: On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky in what astronomers call the "great conjunction"—also known as the "Christmas Star"—marking the planets' closest meeting in almost 400 years. The next time something this close to Earth will happen is on August 27, 2140.
Jupiter and Saturn are always visible with the naked eye, but if you live somewhere else in the world where these two planets are not visible then you should see some amazing sights when they appear together in the night sky.
The Moon will also be out in full force during this great conjunction, so make sure to take advantage of it too!
Saturn is the largest planet in our solar system and can be seen with the unaided eye nearly all year round. It rises as the sun does each day and becomes visible after sunset. At its brightest, it is easily visible even in daylight. Jupiter is the king of the planets and can only be seen with the unaided eye in the evening or early morning before sunrise. It remains visible for several days before sinking below the horizon.
So yes, the Great Conjunction is definitely a sight to behold, and an opportunity not to miss!
If this scripture is literal, then the Star of Bethlehem could not have been any known natural occurrence because none would move in that manner. Some believe the Christmas star was a near encounter between Jupiter and two other planets, Saturn and Mars. Others think it was a fireball streaking across the sky from an exploding star or comet.
The traditional story tells us that the Star of Bethlehem led the Wise Men to Jesus' manger. Although there are no records of such a thing at the time, stars did lead people to places they had never been before. So it's possible that the three men saw this new star and knew that Christ had been born in Israel.
There are several problems with this interpretation. First of all, we know that Jesus was born in December, but the story says that the Star appeared before them in January. Also, the wise men traveled from India to Jerusalem to see Jesus, so how could they have arrived in time to see the Star? Finally, if they were already in Jerusalem when the Star appeared, why did they go back home again?
Some modern scholars have suggested that the wise men may have been magi from Persia who had come to visit Jesus' parents because they heard he was born King of the Jews. But this doesn't explain why they returned home again after seeing him.
Only in the Book of Matthew is the narrative of the Star of Bethlehem told. When Jesus was born, a dazzling star shone in the eastern sky, as witnessed by a group of wise men, according to the gospel. These biblical "Magi," often known as monarchs, today decorate nativity scenes all over the world. They are figures from mythology rather than history, although some researchers believe they may have been rulers of Persia who visited Israel around the time of Christ's birth.
The first reference to the Star that appeared after Jesus' birth and was seen by certain people comes from a document called the Gospels. Written between 80 and 100 AD, these books contain narratives about the life of Jesus collected from witnesses by Christians who wanted to remember what had happened.
These stories were passed on through many generations and included many alterations and additions. The original accounts of the magi do not mention any visit before or after Jesus' birth. However, later writers may have added these details because they thought it made the story more interesting or important. For example, there is no evidence that the magi ever saw Jesus when he was alive, but later authors probably wanted to show that they had done so.
It is also possible that the original story was different and the star was only visible for a short period after Jesus' birth. This would explain why other people did not see it and why there are differences between the versions of the story found in the Gospels.