"Star" to appear just before Christmas

Just in time for Christmas a celestial spectacle will take place in the night sky on the winter solstice, December 21, but it won't be an actual star.

via NBC 5 Chicago

It's called the "Great Conjunction," or the moment when Jupiter and Saturn appear at their closest – "a tenth of a degree apart" – according to Chicago's Adler Planetarium.

Both planets will appear to be one mass, projecting a very bright light just after sunset in the southwest sky. Fear not, doomsayers, the planetary giants will still be hundreds of millions of miles from each other.

According to EarthSky, Jupiter and Saturn have not been this close and observable from Earth since 1226, or approximately the last time the Detroit Lions won a championship. Some believe this may be the explanation of the "Star of Bethlehem"–so if you want to take advantage of this rare occurrence and you are wise, male and can round up two buddies, follow it to a manger. But please, make sure to bear gifts, or don't even bother going.

According to the Adler Planetarium, the planets can be seen as early as Dec. 16 and 17, but the "real show" takes place "the evenings of the 20th through the 22nd."