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‘Double-Planet’ Event Dec. 21 to Resemble ‘Christmas Star’

By Melanie Zebrowski

If you haven’t heard the exciting news yet, a “Christmas star” — a phenomenon caused by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn — will appear in the sky on Dec. 21. These planets will be so close together (from Earth’s perspective) that they will appear to form one large, bright star in the night sky. The viewing conditions for this “double planet” are spectacular; it has been almost 800 years since they’ve aligned so well.

How, when and where to view it

In the hour after sunset, people in the Northern Hemisphere should look to the southwest to see this phenomenon before it disappears below the horizon. Although it can be viewed with the naked eye and even captured with a camera, a telescope is recommended to get the full experience of these planets and their moons together within the same field of view. Check out this article for more information.

Star of Bethlehem: Different event, but same message of hope

Although this planetary conjunction is not the same cosmic event described in Christ’s infancy narratives, it can still serve as a great reminder of hope as we come to the end of a challenging and turbulent year. The star has always been an important and memorable part of the Christmas story, and it graces a large majority of Nativity imagery in the Marian Library’s collections. Featured below is a selection of items that highlight the beauty of the Christmas star and the central role it plays in bringing light to the world in times of darkness. 

— Melanie Zebrowski is a library specialist in the Marian Library.

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