The Polish Christmas Eve tradition of commencing the festive dinner at the appearance of the first star will be uniquely graced by Jupiter this year. A departure from the usual twinkling stars, Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, will play the role of the ‘first star.’
As the sun sets around 3:30 PM on December 24th, Jupiter, shining at a remarkable -2.66 magnitude, will dominate the evening sky. Positioned high in the southeast, away from the western horizon, Jupiter outshines other planets like Saturn, making it the star of the Christmas Eve celestial show.
While true stars like Capella and Vega will also grace the night, Jupiter’s brilliance and visibility make it the standout “first star.” The moon, on its way to full illumination on December 27th, will add to the spectacle, aiding observers in locating Jupiter in the night sky.
A Celestial Ensemble
As darkness falls, an intriguing celestial ensemble will unfold—Jupiter, the moon, and stars like Capella and Aldebaran creating a captivating scene. Aldebaran, a double star, will add a touch of orange radiance to the festive night.