The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn have begun their gradual convergence process since the early summer of 2020, and on December 21, these planets will practically merge into a single star in the sky, forming a bright light that many call the “Star of Bethlehem.”
The phenomenon, which has been called the “Star of Bethlehem,” has not been observed since the Middle Ages.
German astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote in 1614 that the “Star of Bethlehem” in the biblical story of the three wise men could be a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.
On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn in conjunction can be seen about an hour after sunset. Telescopes may be needed to see the convergence of the planets in detail, which actually puts the planets 500 million miles apart, but the light should be visible to the naked eye as well.
The next time Jupiter and Saturn show up as close in the sky will not be until March 15, 2080, when they will be higher in the sky.
Their visual “merger” will take place on the longest night, and in clear weather will be observed in the skyline in the southwestern part of the sky.
In Britain, the convergence of the two celestial giants can be observed on Monday from 16:30 GMT.