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‘Star of Wonder’: Jupiter and Saturn to ‘merge’ in rare cosmic event after nearly 400 years

Jupiter and Saturn are set to cross paths in the night sky, appearing to the naked eye as a “double planet”.

The timing of this conjunction, as the celestial event is known, has caused some to suggest it may have been the source of a bright light in the sky 2,000 years ago.

That became known as the Star of Bethlehem.




The timing has led to a lot of speculation “about whether this could be the same astronomical event that the Bible reports led the wise men to Joseph, Mary and the newly born Jesus”

The theory that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn might be the “Star of Wonder” was proposed in the early 17th Century by Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer and mathematician.

The planets are moving closer together each night and will reach their closest point on 21 December.



As planets cross paths on their journey around the Sun, conjunctions are not particularly rare, but this one is special.

The two planets the largest in the Solar System and some of the brightest objects visible in the night sky have never been so close since 1623 and will again appear to come as close as this-from the Earth on March 15, 2080.