Clouds and warm-up may influence ‘Christmas Star’ views, NH | Human interest

Clouds and warm-up may influence 'Christmas Star' views, NH |  Human interest

Meteorologists warn that an increase in cloud cover on Monday night will affect the view of the “Christmas Star” in New Hampshire, while a rise in the week’s temperature will reduce the adverse conditions for a white Christmas in some parts of Granite State.

A “Christmas star” will appear in the sky between 4:15 and 6:30 pm on Monday, when the planets Jupiter and Saturn meet and create a bright light called a Christmas star or Bethlehem star.

According to John Gianfort, observer at the University of New Hampshire, a good view of New Hampshire requires observers to be able to see the southwest horizon, where both planets are low in the sky.

The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, is the bright star that appears above the place where Jesus Christ was born. Astronomers have speculated that the ‘star’ may be a comet or a combination of planets.

Gianfort said this was the closest Jupiter-Saturn reunion since 1623, but the last Jupiter-Saturn fusion was visible to the naked eye in 1226.

Derek Schrter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cloud Gray, said the cloud cover would ruin the sky show in New Hampshire.

“The cover of the clouds will increase as the night goes on,” Schrter said. “I’m going out there and looking after sunset, to give it the best chance of seeing it.”

On Sunday afternoons a system expects temperatures from 30 to Monday through Wednesday, after an inch of fresh snow.

It changes on Christmas morning and Christmas day, when Schrter says heavy rain, wind and temperatures can reach 50 degrees.

“At this point I would say, you want 10 inches of snow in those situations,” Schrter said. “So there will be heavy snowfall in parts of New Hampshire last week, but there will be less than 7 or 8 inches of snow in the state.

Temperatures are expected to drop again next weekend.

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