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Rare 'Christmas Star' will appear next week as planets align

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BATON ROUGE – A bright sight that hasn't been seen since the middle ages will be happening again Monday, right in time for the Christmas holiday. Saturn and Jupiter’s orbits will be aligning putting them the closest planets have been in 800 years.

“It will look like a very bright object in the sky. It won’t look like a star in the sense of twinkling, because they are planets. But, they will have to be separated by a binocular. That’s how close they’ll be,” said Chris Kersey, the manager at the Highland Park Road Observatory.

Everyone will be able to see what’s called a "planetary conjunction."

“Between about 5 and 5:30 through the twilight evening... They should be shining through the twilight. So that gives Baton Rouge about an hour to take a look,” Kersey said.

The sky-high event has a well-known nickname.

“It could be a Christmas star,” said Jay Lamm, the planetarium producer at Louisiana Art and Science Museum.

Lamm is currently sharing the story of the ‘Star of Bethlehem,’ also known as the ‘Christmas Star,’ at the museum. Some believe it was the effect of two planets aligning that helped guide the three Wise Men to baby Jesus’ manger.

“There were several theories about this, whether it was a comet or super nova. But one was it was a planetary conjunction,” Lamm said.

This is a year people could use another look at shining hope, with many losing their loved ones, shutting down their businesses and upending their day-to-day routine.

“Absolutely. It will bring some light, some illumination, and maybe it’s a harbinger of things to come in 2021,” Kersey said.

The observatory will be holding a watch event at the Burbank Soccer Complex Monday night right around sunset. The show "The Star of Bethlehem” will play at the museum 10 am. and 3 pm. Friday and at 10:30 am. and 1 pm. on Saturday.

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