Star of Bethlehem to return?

(Photo: Unsplash/Sven Scheuermeier)

A cosmic phenomenon will be occurring in the skies tonight, the likes of which may provide a scientific answer to the Star of Bethlehem. 

The 'Great Conjunction' of planets, which may have explained the unusually bright star that led the three wise men to the baby Jesus, is happening on Monday night.

Some scientists believe that the convergence at the time of Jesus' birth was of Venus and Jupiter. This time, the 'Great Conjunction' is between Jupiter and Saturn. 

It's the first time such a convergence of the planets has been seen since 1226 and scientists are predicting that on Monday night, the two planets will have the appearance of an exceptionally bright star.

"Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another," says astronomer Patrick Hartigan from Rice University in Texas in a statement.

"You'd have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky."

The phenomenon will be visible across the globe, but people near the equator will enjoy the best view.