Christmas star: Rare event can be viewed in South Africa after sunset

Christmas star: Rare event can be viewed in South Africa after sunset

- The "Great Conjunction" or "Christmas star" can be viewed with the naked eye in South Africa today, 21 December

- This is the first time in 800 years that Jupiter and Saturn will be both close to each other and Earth

- South Africans can use a telescope or binoculars for a more detailed view of tonight's spectacular phenomenon

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For the first time in 800 years, people across the globe will be able to view the "Christmas star" with the naked eye. South Africans will be able to see the celestial phenomenon today, 21 December, after sunset.

Although the amazing event is referred to as the "Christmas star", what can be viewed is not actually a star. The bright light seen in the sky is actually Jupiter and Saturn, which will be close to each other and our planet - earth.

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Many astronomers refer to the amazing phenomenon as the Great Conjunction. The next Great Conjunction will occur a while from now in the year 2080.

Christmas star: Rare event can be viewed in SA

An up-close image depicting the rare Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction that will be seen from South Africa on Monday, 21 December. Image: Elements furnished by NASA.
Source: Getty Images

According to Business Insider, although the conjunction can be seen with the naked eye, the usage of a telescope or binoculars will allow one to see Saturn's rings and some of Jupiter's moons.

News24 reported that Science Engagement Astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory Dr Daniel Cunnama stated that South Africans can look to the west after sunset to be able to see the bright lights.

In other space-related news, Briefly.co.za recently reported on Elon Musk's SpaceX launching four astronauts into space. The crew was in orbit for 27 hours as the spacecraft manoeuvred toward its destination.

Take a look at some of the responses to the launch below:

@TomDuell tweeted:

"Congratulations to @NASA and the entire @SpaceX team! Beautiful launch!"
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@Jayb1970NUFC said:

"Fantastic launch, safe journey guys. #spacexlaunch"

Briefly.co.za also reported on SpaceX after they launched their Starlink broadband internet service. The Starlink broadband internet service has recently released its pricing for a beta test aimed at the public.

The service will be beamed to users through small satellites. A school district in the Texas area, as well as local US government entities, are currently already using the service. Now the service is being offered out to a small select group of consumers before going global.

The 'Better than Nothing Beta programme' is set to start its initial service for both the US and Canada this year. "Near-global coverage of the populated world" is set to occur next year with no specific dates laid out yet.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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