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The "Star of Bethlehem" in Tonight's Sky? Why a Spectacular Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus is Exciting Many

Aimee Herd : Jun 30, 2015  EarthSky.org

Jupiter (the brightest) and Venus (the second brightest)—although in reality very far apart in space—to us here on Earth, will seem to converge upon each other, aligned on almost the same line of sight, on June 30th, 2015.

In the research done by Rick A. Larson about the "Star of Bethlehem," (among other researchers) the "star" that heralded Jesus' birth was found to be most likely the conjunction of planets Jupiter, Venus and also the star Regulus. (Image: EarthSky.org)

Tonight, June 30th, two of those celestial bodies will appear to become one very bright star in our western night sky.

Jupiter (the brightest) and Venus (the second brightest)—although in reality very far apart in space—to us here on Earth, will seem to converge upon each other, aligned on almost the same line of sight.

On July 18th, the two will be joined by Regulus, and the crescent moon—not in conjunction—but in a beautiful starry circle toward the west at dusk.

At the risk of sounding somewhat "astrological" (I assure you I'm not!), it IS interesting to note, as Rick Larson did in his study about the Bethlehem Star, that the planets and stars held specific meanings to ancient astronomers.

Back 2,000+ years ago, Jupiter symbolized the "planet of kings" and Venus a supreme "mother" coming together, then being joined by Regulus (also known as the "King" star) meant a royal birth (or to Christians, The royal birth of Jesus). This all happened at the time of Jesus' birth and guess what the constellation was in which this heavenly event took place?

Leo the lion... of course, to Believers, Jesus is also called the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah."

Back to present time... although conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus of this magnitude are rare, there will be one that is even brighter next year—in August of 2016.

For now, enjoy the cosmic show tonight, and hopefully the weather near you will cooperate.







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