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was this the Christmas Star? For first time in 800 years, Jupiter andSaturn align

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Old December 20th 20, 05:51 PM posted to alt.astronomy
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Default was this the Christmas Star? For first time in 800 years, Jupiter andSaturn align


Newt Gingrich: For first time in 800 years, Jupiter and Saturn align at
night — was this the Christmas Star?
Look into the night sky Monday
Newt Gingrich By Newt Gingrich | Gingrich360.com

Reflecting on the Christmas season during the age of COVID-19
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, joins 'Bill Hemmer
Reports' with his reflection

After a tough year of lockdowns and living through the coronavirus
pandemic, many of us are looking for a sign of hope. The world may get
that sign on Monday, when Jupiter and Saturn come together to form a
great light in the night sky.

And it’s all too fitting that this should happen right before Christmas.
Let me explain.

Roughly in the year 6 B.C., Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered that
the whole empire be taxed, via a census. In order to do so, all citizens
had to return to their ancestral villages. Among the many travelers
returning home to pay taxes were the Virgin Mary and her husband, Joseph.


Mary was pregnant, and on their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the
Virgin Mary began delivering the baby. The closest place to stop was an
inn, but all the rooms were full. So they were sent out to the manger
where Mary gave birth to Jesus, who Christians believe is the son of God.

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At the same time that Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem, what
looked like a bright star appeared in the night sky. According to
tradition, great celestial events signaled the rise of kings and God’s

In the Bible, three wise men knew the tradition and sensed that this
great "star" would lead them to their savior, so they followed it to an
inn in Bethlehem, where they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

The star that signaled the birth of Jesus Christ and led the wise men to
their savior became known as the Star of Bethlehem and later the
Christmas Star.

Jupiter and Saturn
This Christmas Star that led the wise men to Jesus has become an iconic
symbol of Christianity and the light we must follow during the holiday
season. We see the star on top of Christmas trees and in Nativity
scenes, all in reference to the original star that introduced Jesus to
the world.

Since the star plays a central role in the Christmas story, many people
have debated whether it was real or just a symbol of the light Jesus
would bring into the world.

Stars symbolize emerging hope, God’s plan for the world, and even the
journey to find God in our lives as the wise men did. Many people
believe that the Christmas Star was just that: a biblical symbol.

Others, however, think that the Christmas Star was a real, physical,
celestial object. Scientifically, it is possible that the Christmas star
did exist but is known today as what we call a great conjunction.

According to NASA, what has become known popularly as the Christmas Star
is "an especially vibrant planetary conjunction easily visible in the
evening sky over the next two weeks as the bright planets Jupiter and
Saturn come together, culminating on the night of Dec. 21."

Jupiter and Saturn appear to us on Earth to be aligned in the sky about
once every 20 years. But this year, the planets will pass each other
closer than they have in 400 years. Plus, this will be the first time in
800 years that the alignment occurs at night, allowing people around the
world to see it.

A conjunction between the planets could occur on any date throughout the
year, as it has in the past. But this year is special because Jupiter
and Saturn will reach their closest apparent separation on the winter
solstice, the darkest day of the year.

I dig deeper into the story of the Christmas Star and what people will
be seeing Monday night in the night sky on the latest episode of my
podcast, "Newt’s World." My guest is Dr. Henry Throop, who explains the
scientific nature of the Christmas Star, or the great conjunction.

Dr. Throop is a program scientist in the Planetary Science Division at
NASA headquarters. He focuses his research on the outer solar system and
co-discovered Pluto’s moon Styx in 2012. His expertise is deep, and his
insights are exciting for anyone interested in space and the unknown.

I hope you will listen to this week’s episode and see the light of
Jupiter and Saturn coming together in a conjunction on the darkest day
of the year, just before Christmas, as a sign of hope for 2021 after the
dark, crazy year that was 2020.

I also hope you will listen to my next episode, set to air Wednesday,
when I speak with a remarkably brave and amazing person, Sister Orla
Treacy, about her efforts to educate girls in South Sudan.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt Gingrich’s commentary, visit


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