Will you see the new “Christmas Star?” The Truth Behind 2022’s ‘Star Of Bethlehem’

The “Star of Bethlehem” or “Christmas staris much debated by skywatchers.

After all, bright stars don’t tend to suddenly appear in the night sky… do they?

Anyone in the northern hemisphere stepping out an hour or two after dark this week and looking southeast will see two very bright “stars.”

They are planets.

High in the south is Jupiter, bright at magnitude -2.50 while a little lower in the east is reddish Mars, bright at -1.75.

If you’ve noticed a bright “new” “star” in the last few days or weeks, it’s probably Mars. Just last week, he was at his super-shiny “opposition” once every 26 months. It remains an impressive sight.

However, Venus now becomes visible in the southwest – also just after dark. It shines at a whopping magnitude of -3.8, making it the brightest object seen from Earth besides the Sun and Moon. It’s actually very hard to see at the moment, but as we get closer to Christmas it will rise a little higher into a slightly darker twilight sky.

At Christmas, Venus will be a little easier to see as it rises higher in the early evening night sky. Was it “the Christmas star?”

The ancient legend of a star that appeared in the sky at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ has been the subject of speculation for many centuries.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, this would have led three men to Christ (which is celebrated on Epiphany on January 6 in Western Christianity), so was this supernatural?

Of course not. There is nothing like that.

So what was it?

The supposed uniqueness of the star’s luminosity makes it possible that it is a conjunction of two planets, possibly Saturn and Jupiter, which appeared very close to each other in the sky at three times in the year 7 BC. This is according to Johannes Kepler, the 17th century German astronomer who also established the laws of planetary motion.

Saturn and Jupiter were similarly visible rare alignment just before December 25, 2020 – filed as a once in 10 lifetime event.

Other theories link the bright event to an occultation of Jupiter by the Moon – with the reappearance of the “king of the planets” particularly impressive – and a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and the bright star Regulus. It could also have been Halley’s Comet– which flew by the Earth in 7 BC. AD – or a star exploding into a bright “supernova”.

If this was anything other than an embellishment of a story, then my bet is on Venus. Earth’s “sister planet” and Jupiter are by far the brightest planets in Earth’s sky, but Venus wins out, able to shine at a maximum magnitude of -4.7 compared to Jupiter’s -2.8.

Venus will shortly demonstrate why she is a candidate for the erroneous “Star of Bethlehem” by shining very brightly and very close to the horizon. People tend to notice bright objects when they are just above the horizon, directly in their line of sight, much more easily than when they are high in the night sky.

Venus will rise higher in the early evening night sky in 2023, passing close to Saturn on January 21-22, 2023.

You can get a glimpse of Venus shining brightly by stepping out on Christmas Eve and looking southwest after dark (although you need a clear view of the horizon and possibly some binoculars).

Here’s what you’ll see: a slender crescent Moon lit at 4%, Venus, and above it Mercury. A truly magnificent spectacle! But hurry because the trio will soon sink.

The origin of the “Christmas star” remains a mystery, but it’s not hard to imagine a bright planet “suddenly” becoming visible. After all, even the slow rise of Venus these coming nights will have some people coming home from work asking ” is this?!” although it increases every night for a few weeks.

There’s a reason why the rise of Venus and the appeals to authorities regarding “strange lights in the night sky”/UFOs…people don’t get out much in the winter.

When they do, they are surprised by incredible objects in the night sky that they simply hadn’t noticed before. The same objects astronomers gaze upon in awe every clear night.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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