If 2020 leaves us a year to remember, December is going to put the icing on the cake. The ‘magic’ star of Bethlehem will be seen at Christmas making them even more heavenly. The astronomical phenomenon, known to experts as the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, will create on the night of December 21 a unique and unprecedented visual wonder where the two planets will shine as one when the sun goes down.
A phenomenon of general interest among amateurs and experts
The planetary conjunction is gathering thousands of curious who are attracted by this ‘magical’ phenomenon. According to the physicist and head of the meteorology area of eltiempo.es Mar Gomez, “This phenomenon has caused general interest because it has multiple characteristics that make it attractive: its uniqueness and exclusivity, its location in time – close to Christmas – and its link with the original star of Bethlehem”. The fact of calling the conjunction as the star, of which to this day its existence and origin are not yet known, makes the revolution in networks is assured.
Some users explain and echo the ‘magical appearance of the star of Bethlehem’ while other users try to correct and explain, in their opinion, that it is not related to the conjunction.
Star 🌟 of Bethlehem pic.twitter.com/EH9cHRuJWZ
— Libertad 🌳🌴🌼🌻🌺 (@IraidaLeon) December 12, 2020
#Fakenews They must stop calling the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter Christmas Star.
First they are not stars.
Second they leave in the Southwest.
Third, the Star of Bethlehem rose in the East.
The Star of Bethlehem is Sirius and the Three Wise Men point to him in the Belt of Orion. pic.twitter.com/HHRVQSTylq
– ~~ Only AJ ~~ (@ FreeBra1n) December 11, 2020
The conjunction is sometimes nicknamed “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem” because of its connection to Christian history. Astronomers have tried to link the star to several unusual celestial events, including a comet, a supernova, and a conjunction. pic.twitter.com/b3z9m3ze5i
– Mar Gómez (@MarGomezH) December 18, 2020
Professionals and amateurs have joined the cause. It is an event that scientifically does not have great interest due to the height limitation offered by the conjunction of the planets, but society Europlanet wanted to take the opportunity to publicize the network of national telescopes so that amateur astronomers would be encouraged to participate. According Joaquin Alvaro, a member of society, “we thought it was a good time to promote information from heaven and in this way share points of view between professionals and amateurs.”
On Monday, December 21, we will welcome winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere, but we will also have another astronomical appointment: the Great Conjunction, the name for the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. (📸NASA / Bill Ingalls) pic.twitter.com/BFsTN5pJkZ
– Mar Gómez (@MarGomezH) December 18, 2020
When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west-southwest. An exquisitely thin crescent Moon approaches Jupiter and Saturn on the eve of their Great Conjunction. They will form an unmissable trio today and tomorrow, December 17 pic.twitter.com/CzH1swOZpC
– Luis Vargas (@Meteovargas) December 16, 2020
The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, each night they will see closer together until they become united on December 21. I made this graph to show more simply what this spectacular conjunction is. Photo from Sabana Grande tonight sent by Alex Alequin. pic.twitter.com/DzZcbV5nZ5
– Deborah Martorell (@DeborahTiempo) December 18, 2020
Social networks, the engine for dissemination
Europlanet does not believe that it is a phenomenon that attracts attention if you are not a fan of the subject but, thanks to the noise that they have been responsible for generating, the attention and interest have been increasing. Álvaro explains that they have made a lot of diffusion through social networks and that they have received a satisfactory response. “People are aware of what is going to happen and are collaborating by sharing images or information about the conjunction.”
People from around the world have not stopped uploading photos on social networks of the rapprochement between the two planets.
– MarioJ Schez Vicioso (@mariosanvic) December 16, 2020
Conjunction Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon, from León, Guanajuato, México🇲🇽.
Photo credit: Leonardo Deuriel Galván pic.twitter.com/B2PqD0AX4z
– AmiGo Cultura U (@AmigoCultura) December 18, 2020
Totally clear sky, not a cloud yesterday in Pamplona: magnificent opportunity at dusk to see and photograph the triple conjunction Moon-Jupiter-Saturn.#Luna #Astrophotography #Astrophotography #skyESA #CanonFanPhoto #canon #ThePhotoHour pic.twitter.com/PAfSt1cSk6
– Jesús M. (@JesuMar_) December 18, 2020
The interest caused by the phenomenon of the great conjunction is more than justified. According to Gómez, “all astronomical events arouse an innate curiosity in most of society towards the issues of the cosmos and, furthermore, an event like it has not happened for about eight hundred years.” As a button shows, and proof of this are the social networks that are full of images and comments. One of the most recurring themes revolves around the ‘energy’ behind this curious phenomenon. Something more mystical but without a doubt it is an innate response and linked to any astronomical event.
The ‘gathering of giants’
It may interest you
The Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain has coordinated a set of activities and workshops in collaboration with the Europlanet Society, the Spanish Astronomy Society, the Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain and Astronomers without Borders. The conjunction has been named as the ‘Giants Meeting’ by the federation, and under this name they try to gather all the possible information about the event. Some of the activities he has proposed are an email where you can share images from both amateurs and experts, in order to create an image gallery or a planetary drawing workshop through his channel on Youtube.