DR. SKY BLOG

These objects in the sky remind us of the Christmas star

Dec 8, 2021, 2:00 PM
Sirius, the Dog Star (Pixabay Photo)...
Sirius, the Dog Star (Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

With the holidays in full swing, our attention is naturally drawn to the sky to imagine what objects or objects are just like the magical Christmas star of days gone by.

As we approach the middle of December, we just might be able to suggest a few good candidates to fill our stockings.

You and your family have one of the most amazing objects to fill that category, as we look to the setting sun and first view the brightest of all the planets in the solar system.

This is the magical planet Venus, named for the goddess of love and beauty, in all her splendor.

Venus reached its brightest on or about Dec. 7 and remained in our skies long after sunset, making it a true beacon of light in the south-southwest sky.

Of all the planets in the solar system, Venus gets reported, more than any other object, as a UFO in the night sky. Just look at it, when it appears to be nearing the horizon, it seems to project all the colors of the rainbow in a pulsating pattern of light.

Venus will hug the horizon for the next few weeks and be a real treat to show children and others that have that holiday spirit!

There are many versions of just what was the Star of Bethlehem, which led the magi to the birth of the new king.

Some say it’s a grand conjunction of both Venus and Jupiter in the night sky, as well as a few other alignments of planets in the mix.

Here is a good review of the history behind the Star of Bethlehem.

Still, another great object that will instill the season of the Christmas star is an object which rises around 9 p.m. Arizona time and is the literal brightest star in the sky other than the sun.

This is the magical star we call Sirius.

Sirius is a hot young blue star located a short 8.6 light years from us. The light that you see from this blazing star left around mid-2013 and just got here now.

Sirius is a mast amazing star, one which shines like a celestial beacon and reminds us of another example of the magic of the Star of Bethlehem.

Here is an example of the brilliance of Sirius, visible in prewinter skies of Arizona, rising in the southeastern sky.

Here is a true size comparison between our sun and Sirius.

With your busy schedules, these two objects will fill you with wonder as the holiday season is now in full swing and time to reflect on the larger meaning of what the holidays should be.

The wonders of the December skies are yours for the taking!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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These objects in the sky remind us of the Christmas star