The Christmas star will light up the Devon sky for the first time in 800 years

This incredibly rare “Christmas star” should appear over Devon in the next few days.

John McLean of the Exeter Observatory, who is also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, said that the “Christmas star” is a junction between the two planets. Jupiter and Saturn, since they appear very close to each other, will appear as a single object at the beginning of the night sky on December 21.

He said: “This conjunction had not occurred since December 1623 although it was not visible due to its proximity to the sun at that time.

“The last time a ‘great coupling’ took place was in 1226, so this year’s event is the ‘first’ in 800 years.

This month’s conjunction will be at 1.30pm, and the interplanetary distance will be only 0.06 degrees in the southwest, that is, during daylight hours.

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Weather permitting, the planets will be clearly visible after sunset in Devon at 10 degrees above the horizon in the south and southwest.

While the two planets would appear very close to each other, Saturn would actually be twice as far from Earth as Jupiter.

“December 21 is also the winter solstice and is the shortest day of the year.

So, the Christmas star, not entirely special, but very special. “

Jupiter and Saturn are the two largest planets in our solar system.

They seem to venture close to each other, giving the impression of a “double planet.”

But in reality, it will be hundreds of millions of miles away, as NASA recently showed.

But the gas giants will be closer in the night sky at Christmas than they have been in centuries.

The couple, known as the “Christmas Star” or the “Star of Bethlehem”, will appear in two weeks.

The next time the Christmas star is visible from Earth, it will be in 2080.

Speaking to Forbes, the astronomers said such a “rather rare” alignment could be observed.

“The alignments between these two planets are quite rare, occurring about once every 20 years,” said Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University in Texas.

“This conjunction is exceptionally rare due to how close the planets are to each other.”

“You will have to go back at dawn on March 4, 1226 to see a closer alignment between these visible objects in the night sky,” he added.

When will it be visible?

The Christmas star will be visible to stargazers later this month on the night of December 21.

It has been reported that stargazers should expect a celestial event to appear immediately after sunset.

According to Forbes, they can be observed from anywhere on Earth where the sky is clear.

This means UK residents should be on the lookout for the phenomenon beginning at 3:53 pm sunset time.

The “star” will appear very low on the horizon just after sunset, with the necessary telescope or binoculars.

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