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Christmas star: A Rare Alignment of Planets


A bright object will appear towards the southwestern the early evening hours astronomers have dubbed the astronomical event as the "Christmas star".

In actuality, the astronomical object is not a star at all rather it is the unification of the two largest planets in our solar system;

From earth's perspective, the two planets will be so close together that they will appear as one object. The planetary conjunction of 2020 will be especially important...

Because of its extreme rarity of two large bodies separated by less than one degree.

Christmas star A Rare Alignment of Planets

The day when the great star will appear just happens to be the northern hemispheres winter solstice. 

Which is the day of the year when the North Pole is tilted the furthest away from the sun.

It is the shortest and the darkest day of the year. For all those living in this hemisphere

What is so remarkable about this event is that the two planets will be seen by all people from everywhere on earth.

Look to the southwest horizon about an hour after sunset, where you can best see the brightness of the great star.

Those who may view the phenomenon through telescopes will be able to see both of the planets. As well as some of their moons.

If you're interested in knowing just how rare this astronomical event really.. is think of its occurrence in this way: 

the last time that Jupiter and Saturn were this close together. It was way back in the year 1226 ad during this time. 

Genghis khan was conquering much of Asia while Europe was still generations away from the period of the renaissance.

You may want to mark your calendars for this a great event on December the 21st. 

Since it will be the only opportunity for the older generation to witness this rare conjunction in all of its grandeur. 

As you witness the event keep in mind that Jupiter is by far ..the brightest of the two planets outshining Saturn by a factor of twelve.

On this date, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky after the moon. 

But both planets will be easy to spot as of the date of this article Jupiter and Saturn are not far apart from one the skydome every day between now and December the 21st.

The two will get closer to one another in the evening sky. So now is the time to soak in the spectacular show before it fades away.

There is another important consideration of December 21st. 

The conjunction in addition to its astronomical significance and that would have to do with its actual appearance... in the sky and what it represents the entire world.

1. The significance of December 21st conjunction

Over many centuries some have argued that the astronomical phenomenon of the Christmas star. 

It was in fact an alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, or possibly as a result of a combination of planets 17th century.

German astronomer Johannes Kepler believed that the Christmas star may have been a supernova occurring... at or about the same time as the conjunction of several planets.

Since then there have been other views, including the appearance of a great comet such as hail bop or even Jupiter all by itself. 

One of the main reasons for believing.. that it was a comet is that we understand the nature of the star's travel. 

That it appeared suddenly and it remained visible in the sky for an entire year.

Back in early 1997, hale bop appeared in the evening sky. It remained visible to the unaided eye for 18 months, and many in the northern hemisphere saw it.

There are some among us who may question why a scientific explanation of the great Christmas star's origin.. or its physical makeup really matters.

Even so there is always a benefit in knowing, regardless of your scientific or religious background or beliefs.

If there is a correlation between astronomical and clerical knowledge. Then we can metaphorically conclude that the two are not opposed to one another. 

Even if the actual Christmas star was a comet rather than a planetary conjunction.

This year's astronomical event on December the 21st is a stark reminder to those who have walked in the darkness. 

That on the darkest day of the year a great light has dawned for all .. to see this has been an eventful year for stargazers.

2. Discover of New cometErasmus

With the appearance of several comets earlier this year most notably nowise and atlas. 

Now there is a new comet in our solar system. Its name is Erasmus, and it could be visible in the night sky.

At this moment, the newest comet takes 1900 years to orbit the sun and... is now being observed making its way back through the solar system.

The comet is faintly visible towards the southeast in the pre-dawn sky as it moves closer to the sun.

 The comet will increase in brightness and will shine as brightly as a fifth magnitude star. 

Which should be more easily spotted this evening December the 12th.. as it dips inside the orbit of mercury the planet closest to the sun.

Thereafter, it will swing outwards on its journey not to be seen again for nearly 2 000 years. 

According to the sky charts comet, Erasmus is in the constellation of scorpions. 

You can locate its presence by looking south to find the Milky Way, and then follow it upwards.

The comet was first discovered on September the 21st by South African astronomer Nicholas Erasmus. An image of the distant comet was captured on the morning of November the 20th. 

Which shows a body with a beautiful green glow and a magnificent tail.

Comets are an incredible sight to behold in a space void of light. But scientists have indicated that increased light pollution... is making it much more difficult for astronomers and stargazers to locate them.

Light pollution caused by artificial lighting is, unfortunately, increasing by an average of 6%. 

A year as things become lighter, here on earth. The sky at night will become darker in the not-so-distant future. 

The observation of comets by amateur astronomers will become more of a rarity close to an asteroid.

Encounters are becoming less of a rarity these days happening more frequently, as the year draws to a close: 

a newly discovered asteroid designated 2020, will cross the earth at a distance of just over 35 000 miles from the center of our planet on December the 18th.

The asteroid was first observed at pan stars one in Hawaii on December the 10th. 

Just eight days before its close approach it belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids.. and it has an estimated diameter between 16 and 36 feet.

The object will fly past the earth at 060647 UTC time at a speed relative to the earth of 5.92 kilometers per second. 

That would be just over 13 000 miles per hour. This is the 102nd asteroid to pass earth within one lunar distance.. since the beginning of the year and it is the seventh so far in the month of December.


Christmas star A Rare Alignment of Planets

There are times in our lives when we desire a touch of inspiration to lose ourselves in a moment of possibility. 

In order to obtain endless inspiration we look to the sky. The universe offers endless opportunities and there is nothing better to remind us of this than the sky.

Stay safe everyone thanks for reading this article and always keep looking to the sky.

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