‘Christmas Star’ Visible in South Louisiana Nighttime Sky
For centuries man has stared into the heavens wondering a lot of things. There's the whole "why are we here question", the "are we alone question", and the ever popular "what is that really bright thing that I can see now that I used not be able to see question" too.
While we can't answer the first two, we've got a pretty good idea what the answer to that third question about "the bright thing" might be.
Astronomers are calling the bright object in the western sky that becomes visible about an hour after sunset "The Christmas Star". But, it's not really a star at all. It's actually the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn.
Basically, conjunction means the two planets, in this case, appear to be very close together. And since both Jupiter and Saturn are pretty bright in the nighttime sky on their own, when you combine their brightness it's something that even an amateur stargazer would pick up on.
How close will the two planets actually be?
Well to our line of sight the two heavenly bodies will appear to be less than a Moon's diameter apart. But in the celestial distance, they are actually hundreds of millions of miles apart. But still, their appearance together in the skies above South Louisiana will be the closest since 1623. No, I wasn't around for that one, I am taking history's word.
So, as you're out gazing at holiday lights between now and Christmas if you can cast your eyes skyward. If you look in the western or let's call it southwestern sky about an hour after the sun goes down I promise you will notice the brighter than usual lights in the December sky. December 21st is the day the two planets will appear to be at their closest point.
You have to wonder, was this the light that led the wise men from the east to Bethlehem on that very first Christmas? It could have been I suppose. Or it could have been something similar. Or perhaps it was a different kind of heavenly inspiration, you know the kind that happens when a Savior is born.
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