Monday, 21 December, The Star of Bethlehem

In 2020 a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn brings the two planets visually in the same line of sight. On the day of the solstice, the 21st of December 2020, they will get so close that they will be visible in the same eyepiece of a telescope. This means, that with the naked eye they will seem like one bright object. This phenomenon only happens once every 20 years, as Jupiter and Saturn get very close but this year is very special.

In an interview for the newspaper USA Today, Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan, says

“They will appear to be almost a “double planet”. Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” Hartigan said. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

Worlds align this winter solstice: Look for Jupiter, Saturn in December skies, Wyatte Grantham-Philips USA TODAY

A celestial event some 2,000 years ago founded one of the world’s great religions.  One of the hypotheses advanced for the star of Bethlehem was a conjunction between two celestial objects.

macro shot photography of star with lights
Photo by Elias Tigiser on

What was the Star of Bethlehem? Who were the ‘Three Kings’ and, who were the shepherds watching their flocks by night?  In this presentation we explore the beliefs and symbolism of antiquity and re-evaluate the meanings behind ancient scriptures in search of answers to this ancient mystery.

Come to hear a presentation by Richard Hall at 7:30pm, Monday September 21st, at Stonehenge Aotearoa, and weather permitting, we will be observing the sunset over the Stones.

Star of Bethlehem

Then join us for a Star Safari,

where, weather permitting we will open the telescopes for star gazing. If the sky is clear you will get to see Jupiter and Saturn closer than they have been in almost 800 years.