Star of Bethlehem? Jupiter and Venus Converge Tonight, June 30th

This evening, Venus and Jupiter will appear in the sky just a third of a degree apart – so close that you can cover them both with the tip of an outstretched finger. Sky & Telescope suggests that this rare conjunction of planets was perhaps what was known as the “Star of Bethlehem” (aka:the star of Christ) in 3 and 2 BC, and according to Pat Hartigan (an astronomer at Rice University) this particular conjunction will be the best one we will have for over a decade, rivaled only by one on March 1, 2023, which will not be quite as close.

The conjunction is set to appear in the west-northwest as soon as it gets dark. According to CBS News:

“To the eye they’ll look like a double star,” said Kelly Beatty, a senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine. “Anyone who hasn’t glanced at the evening sky for a while will be surprised by how dramatically tight the pairing is.”

They will be easy to spot as the brightest objects in the sky, after the sun and moon. Venus, appearing as a crescent, will be even brighter than its neighbor. Not far to their upper left, appearing much fainter, is Regulus, the alpha star in the constellation Leo.

They will remain no greater than 2 degrees apart – a thumb’s width at arm’s length – until July 4.

While any metaphysical or spiritual implications are speculative, one thing is for sure – this cosmic event should not be missed!

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