Was the “Star of Bethlehem” that led the magi to the toddler Jesus within the Bible the identical because the Christmas Star that can be seen on Monday (Dec. 21)?
In different phrases, will we be seeing what the Sensible Males ostensibly noticed 2,000 years in the past?
It would not be loopy to assume so. Jupiter and Saturn will come collectively on Monday, practically merging within the sky, a phenomenon referred to as the Nice Conjunction that occurs roughly as soon as each 20 years. Jupiter and Saturn might have appeared to come back collectively thrice as they danced round one another within the sky throughout a interval of conjunction near when Jesus was reportedly born, in the course of the yr 7 B.C. It is conceivable that that mixed gentle within the sky was recorded as a star, and related to Jesus’ start, and thus named the Christmas Star, based on EarthSky. That, in truth, is why the Nice Conjunction, because it’s extra appropriately referred to as, is also called the Christmas Star — due to its reference to the start of Jesus.
If the Biblical account is any indication, it does look like individuals remembered seeing one thing vivid within the sky again then. .
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“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem… magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘The place is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we noticed His star within the east, and have come to worship Him.'” (Matthew 2:1, New American Commonplace Bible)
“…and lo, the star, which that they had seen within the east, went on earlier than them till it got here and stood over the place the Youngster was. And after they noticed the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with nice pleasure. And so they got here into the home and noticed the Youngster with Mary His mom, they usually fell down and worshiped Him…” (Matthew 2:9, New American Commonplace Bible)
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So based on the Gospel of Matthew, a vivid star within the sky on the time of Jesus’ start introduced his start. However what was it?
Winding again the orbits of the planets to the time of Jesus is pretty easy. As Astronomy Journal reported, Jupiter and Saturn’s orbits aligned in 7 B.C. such that from Earth they appeared to come back collectively thrice within the constellation Pisces — a comparatively uncommon occasion, first proposed because the true Star of Bethlehem within the 1600s by Johannes Kepler, based on The Dialog. In keeping with NASA, earlier than Dec. 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn hadn’t come so shut collectively within the sky for 400 years, and never at night time for practically 800 years. (In the meantime, as Dwell Science beforehand reported, the precise yr of Jesus’ start is unsure.)
But when the Star of Bethlehem was a planetary conjunction, Astronomy reported, a Jupiter-Saturn pair-up is not the one candidate. In 3 B.C., Jupiter and Venus got here simply as shut from Earth’s perspective as this yr’s Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, and Venus normally seems brighter from Earth than each Jupiter and Saturn. They then appeared to “merge right into a single star” in June of two B.C.
Planetary conjunctions aren’t the one choices, Astronomy famous. Chinese language astrologers famous a “broom star” within the sky in 5 B.C., probably a comet, that would additionally clarify the Star of Bethlehem. And supernovas all through historical past have seemed to individuals on Earth like large vivid stars. However there is no proof of a supernova across the time of Jesus’ start.
Writing for The Dialog, Eric M. Vanden Eykel, a professor of faith at Ferrum School in Virginia, mentioned: “I imagine Matthew’s story of the star exists to not inform readers a couple of particular astronomical occasion, however to help claims that he’s making in regards to the character of Jesus.”
In different phrases, perhaps Matthew, writing a long time after Jesus’ demise, wasn’t recalling one thing bodily seen within the sky however as a substitute a religious concept.
Initially printed on Dwell Science.