Astronomers say stargazers could find a light in the sky in the days before Christmas, leading all three judges to the Nativity scene.
Saturn and Jupiter will be the closest they’ve been to in hundreds of years, creating what the researcher described as “the most spectacular event in the sky” on Monday – and the end of winter.
While it is not uncommon for objects in the sky to appear very close to each other, this would be an “extraordinary close” – the closest since 1623, said Professor Michael Burton.
The two largest planets in the Solar System are just 0.1 degrees apart, about one-fifth the diameter of the full moon and appear together as the brightest objects in the sky, said the director of the British Astronomical Observatory. .
Professor Burton said: “When it happened, it was in the sky during the day, so people would not see it because it would be so light.
“The last thing we could see was 1226, so we go back 800 years to the last thing we could see in the dark sky.”
The astronomer at the Armag Planetarium and Observatory in Northern Ireland, the combination is a possibility of becoming known as the Christmas star from the story of Jesus’ birth.
He said: “It is possible that the two planets coexist.
“The whole question of what a Christmas star might be is an interesting question of its own.
“Is it a combination, is it a comet or a supernova? No one really knows what it is. ”
The brightness of the sky, which is expected on December 21, is “a possibility of being seen 2,000 years ago,” he said.
The best time to look to the southwest as soon as possible after sunset is between 4.30pm and 6pm, when a telescope or binoculars help, and this phenomenon is visible to the naked eye – weather permitting.
“We have to get our fingers crossed that there will be a clear sky,” he said. Burton said.
The Royal Astronomical Society advised people to block their view without tall buildings or trees.
It says: “With the naked eye, the pair (planets) appear as two bright points of light. Binoculars show those points as slightly larger dots: viewers can see Jupiter’s four largest moons and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
“With a small telescope, the two planets will be in the same orbit, which is an unusual event.
The Met Office said it would rain on Monday. Clear skies are more likely in the northern half of the UK, the Meteorological Agency said.
Despite the inclement weather, the Royal Astronomical Society said, “The two planets appear to be moving very slowly and will appear unusually close together in the following days.”
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