INA – SOURCES
Hundreds of shooting stars will burst across the night sky this week before Saturn and Jupiter 'kiss' on December 21 - creating the first 'Christmas star' in 800 years.
The two cosmic events will be seen across Australian skies from December 14 to December 21 in a fascinating week for astro-enthusiasts.
Such is the rarity of the 'Christmas star' that astrologers say it won't be seen again for 60 years - making this a once in a lifetime event for star lovers.
The first event is the annual, and ever-popular Geminid meteor shower, which will light up local skies from 2am on Monday as the earth passes through the tail of an asteroid.
The skies will be especially dark on Monday morning as the moon is in a new phase - this should mean the shooting stars will appear even brighter than usual according to Australian National University astronomer Brad Tucker.
Stargazers should find a dark place free of light pollution and look north to see the shooting stars. The best time to see the meteor shower is from 2am until sunrise.
On Thursday is when the dance between Jupiter and Saturn will begin, Dr Tucker says to look for the moon at about 8.30 pm to locate the two giant gas planets.
'If you have a small telescope or pair of binoculars you should be able to see the rings and shape of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter,' Dr Tucker said.