Rare ‘Christmas Star’ to Shine for the First Time in 800 Years
If ever there were a year we could use a star to guide us, it's 2020.
Thanks to a rare celestial alignment that hasn't been seen since 1226, we'll be treated to a beautiful "Christmas star" on the evening of Monday, December 21.
Jamie Carter, a science writer for Forbes, reports that the "star" will actually be formed by the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn as viewed from Earth. They'll appear to be so close together that they'll form a bright "double planet" - a phenomenon not observed from Earth since March 4, 1226.
Technically, Carter writes, the planets aligned a few weeks ago, and they do so fairly often (every 19.6 years). However, it's a rare treat to see them this closely aligned from Earth's vantage point, and reflecting such beautiful light so intensely.
2020 may seem like the suckiest year in centuries to be alive, but think about it: you and I are alive to see this, so it's not all bad. If anything, maybe it's a sign that we're almost through these troubles, and a symbol of hope for a better year ahead.
According to Carter, your best chance of spotting it with your naked eye will be about 45 minutes after sunset if you're facing southwest. It'll be sinking toward the horizon, but should still be a gorgeous sight.
Your next chance to see anything like this "great conjunction" again won't come until March 15, 2080, so definitely plan to bundle up and sip hot cocoa that evening while you and your family look to the skies and behold this holiday miracle.
We could all use some starlight in our hearts right now.