In December 2020, the internet was abuzz with talk of a so-called "Christmas Star" – a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. During the celestial event, the two planets appeared so close together they looked like a single, bright star to the naked eye. Does that description sound familiar? The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and its proximity to Christmas, understandably drew comparisons to the biblical Star of Bethlehem that guided the wise men to the place of Jesus's birth.
For centuries, experts and laymen alike have wondered: what was the Star of Bethlehem? Is the Star of Bethlehem the North Star? Are there astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem? While it's unlikely the Star of Bethlehem was a comet like Halley's Comet, there are several theories for what the Star of Bethlehem actually was. The most convincing of these theories might just be a conjunction not unlike our "Christmas Star" of 2020.
On December 21, 2020, Jupiter And Saturn Were So Close Together They Looked Like A Single Bright Star
The Phenomenon Is Called A Great Conjunction, And The Last One Of This Magnitude Was 800 Years Ago
The #GreatConjunction of #Jupiter and #Saturn thru my telescope just after 6pm. 4 of Jupiter's moons; Europa, Ganymede, Io & Callisto, and Saturn's Titan moon visible. Stacked many images for more clarity and color. Nexstar Celestron 6SE with Nikon D750 attached. #scwx #ncwx pic.twitter.com/vzP2IAuFnS— Ed Piotrowski (@EdPiotrowski) December 22, 2020
The Internet Dubbed It A 'Christmas Star' And Flocked To Catch A Glimpse Of The Celestial Event
The Great Conjunction's Proximity To Christmas Ignited A Renewed Interest In The Origins Of The Star Of Bethlehem