The origin of the light that revealed the birth of Jesus to the three wise men has been hotly debated, with some scientists suggesting it was supernova.
But Mike Shaw, an astronomer and teacher at Bootham School in York, said it was more likely a conjunction of bright planets slowly coming together in the sky until they get close enough to make a dazzling impression.
He said: “This Christmas, Venus is back in our evening skies again, not too far from Mars. As soon as it gets dark enough to see stars, look to the west, quite low down. With luck, you will see a brilliant untwinkling object, far brighter than any other star in the sky.
“They aren’t quite in a conjunction, but perhaps people will be able to recapture some of that school-nativity shiver in the pure light of the evening star.”