It came upon a clear night, Christmas Star viewed over Sleepy Eye Lake

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

What many called the “Christmas Star” was shining in the southwest sky, in the early evening dark, on Monday, Dec. 21—the day of the Winter Solstice.

Christmas Star over Sleepy Eye Lake

This was the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn—when the two planets align (to our eye) as they pass each other in the solar system. According NASA, it’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, like this year, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this “great conjunction.”  This conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn may have an even closer tie to the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ than its occurrence so close to Christmas this year. As noted by Johannes Kepler in the 17th century, a similar conjunction occurred in 7 BCE and could be the astronomical origin of the Star of Bethlehem that guided the wise men (from