There isn’t much that is more iconic than the Christmas Star on top of a Christmas tree. And, it doesn’t really matter if you’re the religious type or not, chances are you have a star on your tree. We do, its my job to put it on, hence why it’s a little wonky!
Anyone who has had to live through being part of the dreaded nativity play knows all about the Christmas star (or the Star of Bethlehem, for those religious types)…..and what it’s like to have to wear a dressing gown in a play, in the middle of summer!
Interestingly, there have been many scientific attempts to explain the phenomenon depicted in the Gospel of Matthew, none of which have quite hit the mark. Everything from it being a Hypernova to a comet, and from planetary conjunction to a double occupation (big words I know), have been used to try and explain what the three wise men many have seen.
Early churches condemned astrology, who considered it demonic. So, it stands to reason that the church would shun any thought of this being something beyond the control of their chosen god and being a natural event among the stars.
Which ever way you see it is up to you, the point of this post isn’t to convince you one way or the other.
The point of this post is to talk about a different type of Christmas Star, one that makes the Planetary Conjunction theory plausible, simply because it’s happening right now in the sky’s above you.
When Planets collide
Off in the western sky, Jupiter and Saturn are drawing closer and closer into alignment, a sequence that will culminate on the 21st of December, a day after a rather significant day in our household.
With the alignment of the two massive planets complete, Jupiter and Saturn will be less that one degree apart, visually speaking, but still a long way apart to not bring an end to the world, so you can take your tinfoil hats off!
This is something I’m hoping to capture on my telescope, providing that the weather plays nice.
I love planetary events and this one is a biggie, the last time this happened was in 1623. Great conjunctions like this occur regularly, however most are too close to the sun for people to see. That makes this one more special.
Here’s a thought, maybe this is what the wise men saw in the night sky. I’m no astrologist, but it certainly conforms to my confirmation bias, and judging by how things work these days, then it must be truth!
In all honesty, I don’t care if it was or wasn’t, I’m going to enjoy the event for what it is now.
Being able to see planets with relative ease and with such clarity is one of the many things I’m grateful to scientists for. Its one of my favourite things to do when the weather permits. And while I must battle through a barrage of mosquitos, I do it happily knowing that I get to see what many others before could not.
So, get out there and look to the west, down low in the sky, that bright star there isn’t really a star, it’s two bright planets closely aligned and shining bright………… or it’s the Christmas Star!
‘til next time….. Cheers!