'Christmas star' to be visible for first time in 800 years

Moon shining over Sandwich Bay in Kent, reflecting on the water in the bay

The "Christmas Star" will appear as a bright double point of light.  - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A rare 'Christmas star' is set to light up the sky over the festive period. 

Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in the solar system, are going to align in a conjunction and appear as a bright double point of light for the first time in 800 years.

A conjunction occurs when any two astronomical objects observed from Earth appear to be close together in the sky. It is so rare that this event has not taken place since the middle ages. 

It has been nicknamed the Christmas star, or the Star of Bethlehem.

On December 21, the day of the winter solstice, the two planets will appear so close, approximately 0.1 degrees apart, that they will look like one bright object. 

Stargazers in Norfolk will be able to see this Christmas Star, but it will be low on the horizon so it will be visible just after the sun has set. 

The phenomenon has not been seen for 800 years - and it is believed that the event will next occur in 2080. 


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