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bup
2001-Dec-28, 12:47 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/12/27/star.coverup/index.html

What does that mean? I understand what the moon eclipsing Jupiter in the constellation Aries would mean, but wouldn't that make Jupiter be obscured from view?

Mnemonia
2001-Dec-28, 03:43 PM
On 2001-12-28 07:47, bup wrote:
http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/12/27/star.coverup/index.html

What does that mean? I understand what the moon eclipsing Jupiter in the constellation Aries would mean, but wouldn't that make Jupiter be obscured from view?


If so I don't see how anybody in the last 10000 years or so could mistake the moon for a star. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I think the article and author mean to say that the "Star" of Bethlehem was an event instead of an actual star (or nova/supernova) as the scriptures say. The only problem is that the Greeks and Romans and even earlier cultures all knew Jupiter was not a star, but a planet (Wanderer) so if the story is true somebody along the line promoted the event from the equivalent of Planet of Bethlehem, and took the moon completely out of the story. It seems really hard to beleive anybody, even through the dark ages, could confuse an eclipse of a planet by the moon with a bright star/nova/supernova - way too dissilimiar.

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-28, 03:53 PM
You're right, they are talking about events. I don't think anyone is claiming that they confused a supernova with an eclipse--at the time. Today, though, there is a lot of speculation about what the star could have been.

There was a well-known distinction at the time between planets and stars. Planets were bright objects that moved relative to the fixed but dimmer stars. Only a few stars were even close to as bright as the planets.

So, what if someone had found a dim object, apparently a star, that moved? A moving star might induce astrologers to pack their bags and follow it. It would not immediately be classified as a planet, unless they had years of observations. If it were dim enough, it might never be discovered again for centuries.

That is the speculation discussed in this other BABB thread. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=115&forum=1&58)

Hale_Bopp
2001-Dec-28, 04:15 PM
Boy, makes you wonder how "wise" those men really were, huh /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Actually, I am no biblical expert, but weren't the Magi/Wise men the only ones who could see the star? This indicates one of several scenarios.

1. They had REALLY good eyseight.
2. It was a common astronomical object and everyone else knew what it was and didn't find it the least bit unusual except for these dolts.
3. Boy, those are good mushrooms.
4. Hmmm...maybe God pulled off a miracle. God was known to do that from time to time in the Bible.

Enough witht the silly speculation /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Back to astronomy.

Okay, I am still uncleard on what a "double eclipse of Jupiter" would be. When the Moonpasses in front of a planet, it is usually called an occultation. If the Moon occulted Jupiter, it would look like (surprise!) the ordinary everyday Moon! It would cool to watch Jupiter disappear and reappear, but during the event itself, you would not see anything unsuual.

IMHO, the whole debate is led by a bunch of fundamentalists who want to attempt to use science to prove an article of faith. Stories of this nature cannot be proven or disproven...that's why it's called faith!

I also find it interesting that this reference is made by a 4th century Roman, hundreds of years after the Birth of Christ!

I am not a historical expert here, so maybe someone can shine light on this question : He deduced that Aries was the sign of the Jews. Aries was a constellation of the Greeks. Did the Jewish people recognize Aries as a constellation at that time? Different cultures throughout history have recognized different constellations and I think this would be a good question to ask as well.

Personally, I remember going to a planetarium as a child and seeing a Star of Bethlehm show near Christmas and all I could think was, "This isn't science!"

Rob

bup
2001-Dec-28, 04:20 PM
Well, thanks, but I guess I still don't get it - 'double eclipse,' that is.

So you're saying that they went in the direction of Aries because Jupiter slipped behind the moon there.

That seems *so dis-similar* from the scriptures that I've really got to wonder.

Wouldn't the moon only be there one night a month? Wouldn't Jupiter get eclipsed by the moon not too infrequently? I know they don't follow exactly the same path across the sky, but still...

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-28, 05:02 PM
On 2001-12-28 11:15, Hale_Bopp wrote:
Actually, I am no biblical expert, but weren't the Magi/Wise men the only ones who could see the star? This indicates one of several scenarios.

1. They had REALLY good eyseight.
2. It was a common astronomical object and everyone else knew what it was and didn't find it the least bit unusual except for these dolts.
3. Boy, those are good mushrooms.
4. Hmmm...maybe God pulled off a miracle. God was known to do that from time to time in the Bible.

Enough witht the silly speculation :) Back to astronomy.

Okay, I am still uncleard on what a "double eclipse of Jupiter" would be.
Jupiter takes about 12 years to progress through the zodiac. My astronomy software program says that Jupiter was in Aries in March-June of 6BC and October-January of 5BC, and the moon occulted Jupiter on successive months, once on March 20, 6BC around 6:00pm as viewed from Jeruselem, and again on April 17 around 12:30pm. Jupiter was close to the Sun on March 31, so the occultations would have been only ten degrees away from the Sun, but astronomers of that time probably knew the events were occurring, even if they could not see them. It is close to the same timing as the other famous explanations, which involve conjunctions of bright planets.

As to your list of 5 scenarios, I think none of them apply to the explanation I offered at that other BABB thread link. So, it seems to be incomplete...

bup
2001-Dec-28, 08:23 PM
Does your software take into account the shift from the Gregorian to the Julian calendar?

Anyway, the occultation of Jupiter in Aries doesn't seem like a special enough occurrence to me to portend the birth of the Messiah. And I sure wouldn't call it a double eclipse.

Every twelve years Jupiter's squarely in Aries for several months. I'd think the moon would cross there often during those times.

I do have to admit, the March/April dates you got dovetail nicely with the "shepherds biding their flocks by night." I still feel like either I, or the person who wrote the article, is really missing something, though.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: bup on 2001-12-28 15:26 ]</font>

James
2001-Dec-29, 01:22 AM
On 2001-12-28 15:23, bup wrote:
Does your software take into account the shift from the Gregorian to the Julian calendar?

Wouldn't that be from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian? I thought Julius Ceasar lived well before Gregory the (whatever).

Peter B
2001-Dec-29, 01:24 AM
Something that's struck me about the whole Star of Bethlehem business (now that we're up to about three astronomical oddities which could've sent the Magi on their way at around the right time) is this:

Such an event might've sent the Magi on their journey to Judea, but what about once they got there? Such events would hardly point them to the right town or the right building within the town.

By my sums, Judea would've seen somewhere between 2000 and 6000 births a year (depending on population), and supposedly the Magi found the right one?

They really must've been the Wise Men! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-29, 11:34 AM
On 2001-12-28 15:23, bup wrote:
Does your software take into account the shift from the Gregorian to the Julian calendar?
SkyMap v.7, in its included documentation, says "Dates on or after 15th October 1582 are considered to be in the Gregorian calendar. Dates before this are considered to be in the Julian calendar."

Still, that's only a ten day correction in 1582--around 6BC there's hardly any correction at all. The offset was accumulative.



On 2001-12-28 20:24, Peter B wrote:
Such an event might've sent the Magi on their journey to Judea, but what about once they got there? Such events would hardly point them to the right town or the right building within the town.
I wan't going to post this again, but this is from the last link:

The Star of Bethlehem (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/xmasstar.htm)

Imagine that you are an ancient astrologer, in the evening of late summer of 1BC, and you are watching the bright planet Mars in the east as it turns retrograde to pass through Pisces. Pisces is regarded as the zodiacal sign where evidence of the messiah will appear. Mars will be at opposition in Pisces in mid-September, and at its brightest (magnitude -2.5). In that dark area of the sky, there are only a small number of stars brighter than sixth magnitude, and as Mars slowly backtracks through it, you notice that there is one new star, about magnitude 5.7. It is not on your charts, and even more amazingly, it is moving, and also moving west! It continues to move west through the month of November, as Mars returns to prograde and passes by it less than a degree away. The new star continues its westward journey.

No planets are so dim, and it is clearly not a comet, and no other stars move. Your colleagues are convinced it is a sign and decide to follow the star west towards Jerusalem. You arrive in early December, and the star seems to have stopped, and stood still. For two weeks, it stays within an area of the sky of less than one arcminute in radius, after having spent the previous four months moving almost 240 arcminutes--about the width of the full moon every two weeks. After your conversation with the king, you observe the star that evening. It is nearly directly south, and you follow it to Bethlehem.

In the next month, the star vanishes in the sunlight, and is not found again for centuries. Of course, it wasn't really a star, but a planet: Uranus.
_________________
rocks

<font size=-1>[Added answer to bup]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2001-12-29 06:40 ]</font>

bup
2001-Dec-29, 10:42 PM
On 2001-12-28 20:22, James wrote:
Wouldn't that be from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian? I thought Julius Ceasar lived well before Gregory the (whatever).


Right - so going backward 2000 years, you'd go from Gregorian to Julian.

Regarding that last post - I don't know how accurately the Mars being in Pisces stuff was calculated, but the historical Christ (if you're going to believe in a historical Christ; that is, not taking the bible as literal truth, but accepting that there was a man named Jesus from Nazareth) wasn't born in 1 BC, nor was he born on Christmas.

If biblical dates are correct, he was born about 4 BC. If we believe the part about "shepherds were biding their flocks by night" he was born in the spring (shepherds weren't that into their work - they went home nights except during birthing season).

Uranus would have been dim as all heck, of course, and moving very slowly, but I guess if your whole life is looking through the zodiac for signs...

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: bup on 2001-12-29 17:42 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-31, 03:58 PM
Just noticed the other night that the moon was headed towards Jupiter. Missed it by 13 arcminutes, from where I'm at, about 9:50pm Dec. 30.

There is some discussion on another bulletin board about the near conjuction of the moon and Jupiter on 9/12 (except in Alaska it was an actual occulation). Observers in California saw a nice waning crescent moon in the early morning hours, with a bright "star" very close beneath. They were startled, as that is a common motif on flags of some countries.

Gsquare
2002-Jan-03, 04:00 AM
Yea, Grapes, I saw it also...It was either Dec. 30 or 31st; full moon in conjunction with Jupiter; Awesome. Except it was 1/2 to 1 degree seperation.
And by the way, Jupiter is currently at one of the closest oppositions ever, making it extra special.

I wonder if anyone had a location that made it an occultation?

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-03, 11:48 AM
Yeah, it was 13 minutes from the edge, and the moon has a radius of about 16, so the separation was 29--just right at 1/2 degree.

I'm going to miss the occultation in January, it looks like it'll be at 1pm my time. But the one Mar. 22 looks interesting. From where I'm at in NC USA, Jupiter will pass just 3 or 4 minutes below the half moon, and line up with the terminator at about 6:36am. The Sun will already be up, but I bet you'll be able to follow the course of Jupiter naked eye as it slides by the moon.

In Cody, WY, USA, on Mar. 22, Jupiter will miss the moon by only 1 minute, and it'll line up with the terminator at 5:04am. Plenty dark then. And there.

Gsquare
2002-Jan-03, 06:16 PM
Thanks for the info.

P.s. Nice discussion on Christ's birth. It is possible the double conjunction merely coincided with the appearance of the 'star' of Bethlehem.
IF there is a message there, might it be: Christ isn't coming just once, but will return a second time?

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-03, 07:08 PM
On 2002-01-03 13:16, Gsquare wrote:
It is possible the double conjunction merely coincided with the appearance of the 'star' of Bethlehem.
I think it was Kepler who first identified a celestial event with the star of Bethlehem--a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, near to the events that Molnar advocates. And Kepler calculated that using Ptolemy's methods, I believe.

bup
2002-Jan-04, 06:13 PM
>a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

*That* makes sense to me. Makes for a really
bright "star," and much rarer than the moon obscuring a planet.

For the record, the gospel never claims the star led them to the manger - the star led them to Jerusalem (or maybe even just Judea, so they went to the capital), where they asked around. They were told that if a savior were born, the prohecies predicted Bethlehem. So then they went *there* and asked around.

aurorae
2002-Jan-04, 08:41 PM
Did anybody see David Levy's explanation in last Sunday's Parade magazine?

I think it was a little different than any of the possibilities mentioned here so far.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-05, 04:04 AM
No, didn't see it. What was Levy's take on it?