‘Star Of Bethlehem’ 2022: How, When And Where To See A Bright ‘Christmas Star’ With Your Naked Eyes
The astronomical theories about the source of the story about a bright star appearing in the east—and how to test some of them out yourself this Christmas.
The “Star of Bethlehem is captivating story. A bright star appears in the eastern sky as Jesus Christ is born in Jerusalem and a group of wise men “follow yonder star” to worship him.
What was it? Here are some astronomical theories—some very convincing, others not so much—but there are plenty of clues in this week’s night sky that will lead you to possible sources of this enduring Christmas legend.
Here’s the astronomy behind the legend and how, when and where to find your own “Christmas Star” this week:
1. It was Venus
To me this is the most convincing theory solely because Venus is always surprisingly bright, even to experienced observers. It’s the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. It’s no coincidence that UFO sightings mushroom at times when Venus is visible low on the horizon. That time is just beginning now, with Christmas Eve offering the first practical opportunity to see Venus shining brightly.
How to find your own ‘Star of Bethlehem’
Go outside just after sunset and look to the southwest (you’ll also see Mercury). You can do this at any time for the next few months. Don’t let the fact that Venus is shining in the west instead of the east—where the “Star of Bethlehem” was said to shine‚put you off this theory. Venus is an inner planet so is only ever visible in the west just after sunset or in the east just before sunrise.