Skip to comments.Days before Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn will look like one bright star — some believe the alignment is the same described in the Bible
Posted on 11/28/2020 12:11:05 PM PST by CheshireTheCat
A rare event in the heavens just ahead of Christmas will feature an alignment of planets that a famous astronomer believed was the phenomenon that is mentioned in the Bible when Jesus Christ was born.
The alignment of Jupiter and Saturn will appear in the skies on December 21, the winter solstice. The last time the rare alignment of the planets was this close was in 1623, nearly 400 years ago. That was only 14 years after Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter with the invention of the telescope.
Another famous astronomer, Johannes Kepler, posited in 1614 that the alignment of the two planets might have been what was reported in the Nativity Story of Christ in the Bible. The planets aligned in 7 B.C., around the time that Christ was born...
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...
They will not “look like one bright star”. They will be about 0.1 degree apart. Sounds close, but that’s about 1/5 the diameter of the moon, so there will be plenty of space (pun intended) between them.
Nice pun. I totally did not see it coming until I got to the words “pun intended”. Well done.
It is a sign that Trump will just reach 270+ electoral votes.
It is a sign...from the Creator and HIS way of showing favor and tipping the scales for his lowly creation.
Well, if you are nearsighted it’ll probably look like a single fuzzy star... or a lint-covered Tic Tac.
Looks like you can buy that on
I thought it was accepted that it was a UFO they were following, and the three wise men were aliens?
History is so mysterious
And it led the wise men to a specific stable in Bethlehem? I don’t think this phenomenon matches the description at all.
“According to the Orthodox Christian Tradition the Star of Bethlehem which led the Magi was not an astronomical event, but it was rather a supernatural being-an angel. This Angel was sent by God to lead the Magi to the Christ Child and the world to the dawn of a new light of knowledge, as seen in the Troparion (Hymn) of the Holy Nativity:
“Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth. For by Your birth those who adored stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know You, Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You.””
I wouldn’t rule out that a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction was some sort of sign to the wise men (who would have routinely used astrological guidance) but in our common understanding, the miraculous star of Bethlehem hovered over the site of the manger and the birth of Christ, whereas the planetary conjunction or any other astronomical event in the sunset sky like it would do what we’re going to see in December, set each night in the same area of the sky as the Sun had recently gone down, so it could do no more than suggest a course to the southwest, and our received story is that the wise men came from the east, so it would have only been the last few miles of their journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem that had very much useful guidance from the planetary conjunction.
I looked this up in some reliable astronomical tables that I have handy here and the actual conjunction referenced by Kepler and the article’s author (he says it was in 7 B.C.) was in a similar aspect to the Sun, the earth having passed Jupiter and Saturn around the first of September but their closest apparition would have been more like that time of the year than later on the way we got to see it this year (in 2020, we passed Jupiter six days before we passed Saturn (July 14, 20), they had a heliocentric conjunction in October and now we’re in this close alignment ... in 7 B.C. according to these tables, we passed Jupiter and Saturn at almost the same time in mid-September, so that they would have appeared closest to us then, but a later timing may have produced a second close pass (probably later in the winter than December though).
That idea fits one concept I’ve read, that the actual nativity was in late winter, the season when shepherds would actually be out in the fields tending to the newborn lambs, rather than the winter solstice, a Roman feast that the early church decided would be a good basis for Christmas (so they built on its existing traditions).
That being the case, the “star of Bethlehem” may have been setting after sunset around February 15 to 28 of 6 B.C. after the autumn 7 B.C. conjunction.
It should also be noted if anyone’s checking their own sources, astronomers generally use the convention of a year zero between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D., and in my tables all of the above actually show up a year later, with the autumn conjunction listed for 6 B.C. and the February final stage in early 5 B.C. But historians generally avoid the use of the year zero and so most discussions you read (such as Herod dying in 4 B.C., etc) are in the time frame where no year zero exists.
Due to precession, the winter sky looked different in Roman times than it does today. Constellations used to rise a month earlier than we see them in our sky, this is why zodiac signs are generally speaking one month earlier than the Sun is nowadays in those signs. An example relevant to the winter sky would be Taurus, the sign applies to April 21 to May 21, but the sun is nowadays moving through Taurus from about May 21 to June 21, and at this time of year we see Taurus (leading Orion) in the due south by the middle of December. Romans would have seen it there in mid November. Going back another two thousand years, ancient Egyptians would have seen our winter sky in October (although they knew nothing of the names of our calendar months and had their own names). Going back to the late ice ages and the very ancient peoples at the dawn of history so to speak (around 8 to 10 thousand years before Christ), the current winter sky would have graced summer nights and the winter full moon would be seen against the rather barren portion of the sky where Jupiter and Saturn are located at the present time. A full cycle of this precession lasts 26,000 years.
As a result, the wise men would have been viewing their version of our planetary conjunction in a rather different part of the sky, not that far ahead of Taurus (with the Pleiades and Aldebaran out ahead of Orion). The two bright planets would have been prominent visitors to that familiar area of the night sky by the following two winters, Jupiter leading the way as it outpaced Saturn.
I also looked up the position of Mars (very bright in our current skies but nowhere near the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction). In the same winter (7 to 6 B.C. historical time, 6 to 5 B.C. astronomical time) Mars was in opposition in March, so it was basically a bit behind where it appears in this case, and would have been rising when the “star” was setting. And Venus in that winter was also a morning star as there had been an inferior conjunction in early November of the winter we’re discussing. That means it was visible in the evenings in the summer previous, went in front of the Sun and appeared in the morning skies of that winter. There was no triple conjunction of any bright planets in the winter being discussed.
Using as a convention a “year zero” makes no sense from a mathematical perspective. Plotting the passage of time on a number line shows that placing the year 1AD and the year 1BC next to each other on either side of the zero point on the number line is the only sane convention.
You may be right but the fact is that astronomy uses the year 0 and historians generally do not. The point can only be academic since nobody alive in those years was numbering from any recent (to them) event, they would be numbering from the founding of Rome or other timetables based on the reign of kings and emperors. It was only many years later that church based historians counted back, established a year number (with an error of 4 to 6 years built into it) and things went from there to here.
Astronomy tables running back past zero will show a date that is one fewer years BC than a historian would assign to the same year, hence the astronomer’s 6 BC is the historian’s 7 BC (and the astronomer’s 0 AD is the historian’s 1 BC).
I don’t have a preference, but knowing the information allows me to co-ordinate findings from one source to another. The one advantage to a year zero is that it is actually a hundred years from 50 BC to 50 AD, in historical terms, it is 99 years.
If our year dating system was continuous from the events of the first week of the earth emerging from chaos as described in Genesis, it seems unlikely that first year would have been dubbed Year Zero. The first year would be assigned a finger or digit in our “base ten” counting system (which itself arose out of the fact that as humans we possess ten fingers) just like any other year. Once Adam and Eve got their minds around the concept of a “year” (it would presumably take a year or twould at least), that first year would have been known as or referred to thenceforth as Year One. The concept of “zero” was not even going to be invented until thousands of years later anyway...
They would probably have brought some diapers -- maybe one of these brands.
("All Good", "Earth's Best", "Pure", "Luvs".)
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