UAE meteor shower
The UAE is in for another celestial spectacle after the recent meteor showers. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE residents are in for another celestial treat this evening (December 21) after the recent spectacle of meteor showers.

Visible to the naked eye but best seen with a telescope or pair of binoculars, the Christmas Star is set to make a dazzling appearance.

The sight of the star is the result of two giant planets of the solar system — Jupiter and Saturn — having a rare close encounter that has not been seen from the Earth in nearly 800 years.

Best way to watch
This Christmas Star is visible to the naked eye, but to experience it in all its splendour, you need to watch through a telescope or a pair of binoculars.

“The solar system’s two largest planets will appear to merge, creating a bright point in the sky during the early evening of December 21, the day of the Winter Solstice,” said Hasan Al Hariri, CEO, Dubai Astronomy Group. He said, “Jupiter and Saturn will reach their greatest conjunction when they will be a mere 1/10th of a degree apart and will give an impression of bright star in the sky.”

This dramatic phenomenon is said to have last occurred in 1623 when the two giant planets appeared so close.

“But astronomers say the stargazing conditions at the time and position of the sun meant it was most likely not seen” said Al Hariri, adding, “ It was in 1226 when the “Great Conjunction” was observable with the naked eye, according to EarthSky. The next chance for people to enjoy the “Christmas star” will be in 2080.”