National Geographic : 1943 Jul
Jupiter Joins the Brilliant Parade of Planets across December's Wintry Sky T HE PLANET appears in the constellation Leo (the Lion) in the east. Mars reaches its greatest brilliance in December, but comes nearest to the earth just before the beginning of the month, on November 28. In the north, almost touching the zenith, the constellation Perseus is the most conspicuous object. Unfortunately one may not expect to see, near Christmas, anything in the sky suggestive of the Star of Bethlehem. Various persons have theo rized about the probable nature of the "Star of Wonder." Was it, perhaps, a nova, or "new star," flashing out in temporary brilliance, a cosmic explosion? Was it a comet, or possibly a peculiar arrange ment of bright planets? All have been sug gested. The Biblical story of the movement of the miraculous object, however, traveling before the Wise Men and finally guiding them to the Manger of Bethlehem indicates that it could not have been a true astronomical body. One may prefer to interpret the legend of the Star of Bethlehem in symbolic rather than scientific terms. The December sky chart also depicts the ap pearance of the morning skies for September 1 at 5:30 a.m .; September 15, 4:30 a.m .; October 1, 3:30 a.m .; October 15, 2:30 a.m .