If Christmas preparations are a busy time for you, stargazing gives you time to take a breath and relax. So head outside on Christmas night to do some star watching.
Looking at the night sky is awe-inspiring and yet peaceful and calming at the same time. It’s bound to refresh your spirits, relax your mind and get you ready for the next day ahead.
On Christmas night there are two beautiful bright objects to be seen. One is a star and the other is a planet!
When to look: 8.15pm, 24 December 2019
In the west, the brightest star-like object to be seen low on the horizon is not a star at all. It’s Venus! After sunset, it will dazzle you with its brightness!
On the eastern horizon, the brightest star you can see is the brightest star we see in the night sky. Sirius is part of the constellation of Canis Major (the Greater Dog). It’s not as bright as Venus but can easily be identified.
Something interesting: Do you wonder if there is an astronomical explanation for the Star of Bethlehem? There are a few theories – perhaps it was a comet, a supernova or perhaps a planetary conjunction (a close grouping of planets). Astronomers have looked back at the motions and positions of planets around this time and two conjunctions occurred, one of Venus and Jupiter on 17 June 2BC, and the other of Jupiter and Saturn from May through December in 7BC.
Without doubt, these bright planets together would create a spectacularly bright star in the sky. Read more with the Lowell Observatory: https://lowell.edu/star-of-bethlehem-holiday-skies/. The Lowell Observatory is located in Flagstaff, Arizona and is the World’s First International Dark Sky City.
Have a wonderful Christmas from the team at Astrotourism WA. We will have more stargazing tips and helpful hints coming up next year! Have a very sparkly Christmas!
For more stargazing tips, visit www.astrotourismwa.com.au.