Jupiter and Venus "collide" by morning

HOUSTON - While separated by 416.4 million miles, the planets of Venus and Jupiter will appear to nearly collide in the morning sky early Monday.

The conjunction as its called will occur tomorrow morning, about 45 minutes before sunrise and will appear very low on the horizon in the east sky. It will appear as one bright spot.

 

 

While it won't be the spectacle that the eclipse was back in August, it'll still be worth a look to the sky as you scamper down the driveway in your robe and slippers to fetch the morning paper.

These conjunctions happen fairly regularly with one happening just last year in 2016. According to Earthsky.com, these two planets are the brightest planets when viewed from Earth. Only the sun and moon outshine them -- and Ron Trevino when his makeup is done just right. 

Sunrise Monday morning will occur at 6:44 a.m. According to Space.com, you'll want to look towards the Constellation Virgo roughly southeast and west of the moon.

Could this be the Star of Bethlehem as recorded in the Bible? 

As we approach the holiday season, some astronomers believe it was a similar conjunction of these two planets back in 3/2 BC that the wise men saw that led them to Jesus. 

Here's an excerpt from Space.com's article:

"Taken literally, the biblical account of the story of the Star of Bethlehem calls for not one, but two "stars." One to be seen at the start of the Magi's journey while the other appearing to them upon their arrival in Bethlehem. 

Interestingly, in August of 3 B.C., Venus and Jupiter were prominent in the predawn eastern sky, and on August 12th they came within just 9 arc minutes (0.15°) of each other as seen from the Middle East. Incidentally, this sign would have been seen by men "in the east," explaining the phrase in the Book of Matthew."

Regardless of your faith or your belief in the Bible, it'll still be an interesting sight to take in first thing Monday morning. Since you might still be feeling the fruits of that extra hour of sleep, go ahead and set the alarm a bit earlier to take in an out-of-this-world sight!

 

 

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