Cross your fingers for clear skies to get rare view of 'Christmas Star' in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Cross your fingers for clear skies to get rare view of 'Christmas Star' in Kamloops, Okanagan

The approaching Great Conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in this photo taken by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on Dec. 16, 2020.
Image Credit: Facebook/ Royal Astronomical Society
December 19, 2020 - 7:30 AM

It appears as though it might be touch and go as to whether a celestial phenomenon that hasn’t been viewed from Earth in more than 800 years will be visible to Kamloops and Okanagan residents on Dec. 21.

The Great Conjunction of 2020 takes place on Dec. 21, an event that is expected to see Jupiter and Saturn appearing as ‘one star’ in the night sky.

EarthSky.org says many people are heralding the event as a Christmas star, drawing comparisons of its appearance to the Star of Bethlehem.

According to Forbes.com, a long-running theory regarding the origins of the Star of Bethlehem in the story of Jesus’ birth is that the Star was actually a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that took place around the birth of Christ.

A triple conjunction is a case in which three conjunctions occur in the same year.

Jupiter is a bright, starlike object in the evening sky right now and is drawing closer to Saturn each night until next Monday.

They will be 0.1 degree apart on Dec. 21, and speculation is they will appear as one in the night sky.

However, no one knows for certain what the conjunction will look like, because the last time this exact event took place and was visible on Earth was in 1226.

EarthSky.org says a consensus of opinion is most people will see the planets as two separate bodies, but the event will be spectacular to see, nonetheless.

In Kamloops and the Okanagan, we may be out of luck. The present Environment Canada weather forecast for the evening of Dec. 21 is calling for cloudy periods for Kamloops and cloudy skies with a chance of flurries for Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.

The viewing may be much better on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 20, as clear skies are expected for all four cities.

At that point the two planets will be within 24 hours of their closest, so make a note to check the sky on Sunday night, especially if you can see stars.


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