Home > Ephemeris Program, Speculation, stars > 12/07/2018 – Ephemeris – The Star of Bethlehem: natural event, miracle, or myth? I’ll be following the clues tonight

12/07/2018 – Ephemeris – The Star of Bethlehem: natural event, miracle, or myth? I’ll be following the clues tonight

December 7, 2018

Ephemeris for Friday, December 7th. The Sun will rise at 8:06. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:02. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Tonight at 8 p.m. I will be giving a talk investigating what the Star of Bethlehem may have been. This will be at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road. The talk is a scientific treatment of the matter, rather than a religious one. We’ll look at the usual suspects for what the star was. We’ll see what the Gospel writers may have gotten right and possibly wrong. We’ll look at historical writings and recorded Chinese observations of the heavens around that time. I will be augment this by computer simulations of what might be important celestial events visible around that time. There is no admission charge. There will be viewing of the skies afterward if it’s clear.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

  1. December 7, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Hi. Sounds like an interesting lecture! I live in California so will miss it. Supposedly, the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars. But what was the Chinese interpretation?
    Thank you.

    • December 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      Hi Susan,

      There are two sets of planetary conjunctions that have been put forth as the “Star” of Bethlehem. A conjunction is when two planets or solar system bodies appear to be together in the sky. The first and most popular is the 7 BC triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Mars joins the still compact formation in February 6 BC. But the big deal is the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. You can find out more by googling Star of Bethlehem.
      The celestial event that I feel fits most of the facts are two extremely close conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus in August of 3 BC and again in June of 2 BC. I have much more on this event with my posting two years ago: https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/12022016-ephemeris-my-talk-about-the-star-of-bethlehem-is-tonight/. I reprise this talk every two years.
      I bring the Chinese into the story because they were the only ones who made meticulous records of celestial events going back thousands of years. We are looking for and Novae or comets that appeared in our time frames. Novae is plural of nova (Latin), a shortened form of nova stella or new star. These are stellar explosions. They blaze forth for a time, then fade from view. It is hard to think of any message they might send. Comets are a different story, they brought only bad news.

      So that’s it in a nutshell.

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