Watching the Skies: The ‘Christmas Star’ to appear

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The second and third brightest celestial objects in the sky will pair up this week.

Early in the morning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, look to the east before sunrise to see the moon and Venus. The thin, waning moon will be above Venus on Friday, just slightly above Venus on Saturday and to the lower left of the planet on Sunday. The only object in the sky that is brighter than the moon and Venus is the sun.

While you’re out enjoying Venus and the moon, be sure to keep your eyes open for meteors. The Geminid meteor shower will peak early in the morning on Dec. 14. The best time to look will be around 2 a.m., but you’ll have a chance of seeing some meteors at any time after dark. In ideal viewing conditions, up to 50 meteors per hour will be possible.

You may have already heard rumblings about the “Christmas Star” or the “Star of Bethlehem” appearing later in the month. This is not one giant star that will suddenly become visible, but two large planets that will pair up in the night sky on the winter solstice.

On Dec. 21, there will be a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn happen about every 20 years, but this year’s conjunction will be the most impressive in a very long time. In fact, the last time a conjunction like this took place was in 1226.

During a conjunction, two planets appear to meet in the sky from our perspective on Earth. You’ll want to look to the southwest after sunset on Dec. 21. Fingers crossed we’ll have clear skies!

The last full moon of fall occurred last week. Astronauts onboard the International Space Station captured this incredible image of the full moon from space.

A photo of the full moon taken by the International Space Station. (Courtesy: NASA)

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

Weather Tools