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Eroica
2003-Dec-02, 08:05 PM
This probably comes up every Christmas, but a search of the board turned up nothing.

I voted for option one. Matthew's gospel is full of "events" in which Christ's Messianic identity is supposedly confirmed by the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies, and I believe that the story of the Magi is such a story - ie historically untrue.

The relevant passages of the Old testament are: Numbers 24:17 - A star has come forth from Jacob, a comet has risen from Israel. Isaiah 60:6 - A flood of camels shall cover you ... all those of Sheba shall come; gold and frankincense shall they bring. Psalms 71:10-11 - The kings of Sheba and Seba bear gifts ... may all kings do him homage, all nations serve him.

Jigsaw
2003-Dec-02, 08:30 PM
I think we need to establish a parameter here: this is not a thread to discuss *whether* there was ever a real "star of Bethlehem", as discussions of "religion" are specifically prohibited from BABBling. We need to take it as the basic operating assumption of this discussion that there was a star, and if so, what would it have been.

Anyway, assuming that there was a Star of Bethlehem, the most likely candidate would have been a nova, and thus I voted for "Other". The biggest drawback is that we don't know exactly what year Jesus was born, so it's hard to calculate which nova it would have been.

It couldn't have been a planetary conjunction because the Magi would have been perfectly familiar with those. They didn't say, "We have seen a planetary conjunction", they said, "We have seen a star." I pay them the compliment of assuming that they knew their onions, and knowing the difference between a "star" and a "planetary conjunction" would be pretty basic for a professional astrologer. They were expert observers of the heavens, professional astrologers, back when astrology was a respected and serious profession, not a woowoo hobby. for pampered housewives.

And of course there's Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Star" in The Nine Billion Names of God, in which a supernova is the Star. Great classic story. Sad, but good.

Same thing for its having been Venus. Venus was around all the time, it rose, it set, everybody knew what it was. It wouldn't have attracted any attention.

heliopause
2003-Dec-02, 08:32 PM
Hello? Isn't it obvious??? It was PX!!!! :roll:

Duh!

SciFi Chick
2003-Dec-02, 08:37 PM
I think we need to establish a parameter here: this is not a thread to discuss *whether* there was ever a real "star of Bethlehem", as discussions of "religion" are specifically prohibited from BABBling. We need to take it as the basic operating assumption of this discussion that there was a star, and if so, what would it have been.

I don't see how deciding the star existed is the alternative to "discussing" religion. As long as we don't argue with people who don't believe it existed or with people who do, then it's not a religious discussion. :)

That said, it didn't exist. It couldn't have been a nova. Why? Because it wouldn't have led the wise men to a specific spot. It would be like looking at the moon which is never over a specific house or stable so to speak.

If it did exist, maybe it was a UFO. :wink:

SciFi Chick
2003-Dec-02, 08:38 PM
Okay, my post makes the sense that doesn't. :oops:

What I mean by not arguing is that if you believe it existed in a faith way, no problem, but it couldn't have existed in a scientific way as a nova.

[edited to correct spelling - sheesh]

mike alexander
2003-Dec-02, 10:35 PM
My own vote is post-hoc myth-fulfillment. The Christian Gospels go to great lengths to show the Messianic veracity of Jesus, in a manner that has the hallmarks of very early urban legend.That said, I don't think the idea of a predictable event is dismissable.

Small diversion: I'm currently reading a history of the Spanish Armada, and it turns out that many people were very concerned that the year 1588 was going to be a time of troubles based on predictions made a generation before by Regiomontanus (a planetary conjunction, two lunar eclipses in one year, numerology, other things). Given that there was great unrest (heck, war) in France and the Netherlands, England was in a state of precarious alliances and financially strained and Philip of Spain was coming around to launching a grab to return the English from Protestant heresy, the contingent facts of history suplied a plausible correlation to astrological/nomical incidents.

The period of the Gospels was a similar time of unrest and worry in Judea and the entire Middle East. There were many splinter groups and the 'end of times' and similar messianic longings were very evident. I would not find it hard to believe that arbitrary astronomical events, even if totally predictable, could be used as a pretext to read in a particular meaning.

SouthofHeaven
2003-Dec-02, 11:44 PM
Ok we know Jesus was boring in teh lambing season becuase A. it say this in teh bible accounts and B that is when census was taken during the Roman rule. So any planetary alignment or planet in teh night sky would have to be determined in a time frame of say March through April between 7 BCE and 4 CE. You would have to figure on the night sky form those dates and year.

As for teh Nova or supernova explanation I woudl have to say I disagree. Even at that time ancient civs were rather attune with teh sky and if something new appeared more than likely it would have been recorded somewhere else. And we would be able to see remanents of it today (ie Crab Nebula.

NOw if it wasn't recorded and it possible was a super nova or nova then you can run star charts for that range of date against current charts and see what star is missing and if that missing start corresponds to a nebula or other nova or supernova remanent.

Now lets take a look at the civilization in that time in that area of the world. More than likely the three kings were traders or nomads. So they might have mistaken Jupiter or Saturn as a star. They possibly did not know about planets. So it could have been Jupiter.

That's my two cents

daver
2003-Dec-02, 11:46 PM
We need to take it as the basic operating assumption of this discussion that there was a star, and if so, what would it have been.

Hmm, my take on it is just the opposite; if Matthew is to be strictly and literally interpreted, it had to be a miracle. The only way there can be a debate is if you allow some amount of misinterpretation.


Anyway, assuming that there was a Star of Bethlehem, the most likely candidate would have been a nova, and thus I voted for "Other". The biggest drawback is that we don't know exactly what year Jesus was born, so it's hard to calculate which nova it would have been.

It couldn't have been a planetary conjunction because the Magi would have been perfectly familiar with those. They didn't say, "We have seen a planetary conjunction", they said, "We have seen a star."

Magi: We have seen a conjunction between Jupiter (the king of the planets) and Saturn in the constellation Pisces (associated with Judea).

[I'm making this up; i have no idea which conjunction had been suggested]

Ignorant Shepherds: What's a cojunxion?

The nice thing about an astrological interpretation is that whatever phenomenon it was doesn't have to physically manifest itself over Bethlehem. Otherwise you're back to miracles (or maybe weather balloons).



Same thing for its having been Venus. Venus was around all the time, it rose, it set, everybody knew what it was. It wouldn't have attracted any attention.
Again, it would have to be in an astrological context.

Jigsaw
2003-Dec-03, 05:22 AM
Sorry, have to disagree with this:
They possibly did not know about planets.
The whole backbone of astrology IS the way the planets move through the collection of constellations across the ecliptic called the "Zodiac". All historic sources agree that what we have today by way of astrology was codified by the Babylonians and handed down essentially intact. So the Magi were working within a long-standing traditional discipline that included awareness of the planets.

There are five naked-eye planets; you don't need a telescope to see them.

http://skymaps.com/articles/n0003.html

The word "planet" is from the Greek for "wanderer".
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary

...modification of Greek planEt-, planEs, literally, wanderer, from planasthai to wander

1 a : any of the seven celestial bodies sun, moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Saturn that in ancient belief have motions of their own among the fixed stars
The ancients knew perfectly well that some "stars" moved around quite a bit, and the ancient Greeks (300 years before the Magi) called them "planasthai" or "wanderers".

Also have to disagree with this:

More than likely the three kings were traders or nomads.
The Greek word used in Matthew 2 is "magoi", which quite specifically means "magi" or "magicians". They were the educated elite, members of a priestly caste of learned men who knew all about astrology.

Not nomads or traders. And, even nomads or traders would have been familiar with the night sky.

skyglow1
2003-Dec-03, 05:39 AM
I voted other as I've seen a documentory about this before on TV. It said it was either the planetary conjunction or it was a comet. I suppose a comet is more applicable as the comet's tail would make the "star" seem to be moving, "guiding" those people.

skyglow1

Lycus
2003-Dec-03, 06:17 AM
I suppose a comet is more applicable as the comet's tail would make the "star" seem to be moving, "guiding" those people.

Do we know of any good candidates that were visible during that time period?

Charlie in Dayton
2003-Dec-03, 08:58 AM
As I vaguely recall, it was something in the sky that rose in the east, that pointed them in that particular direction, not necessarily some sort of cosmic neon arrow pointing ata certain house.

And for the record, SouthOfHeaven, that l337 'teh' crap sucks swamp water...okay? Thanks. [-X

captain swoop
2003-Dec-03, 09:14 AM
It's a pub, well, I know of 2, there is one in Lambeth and one in Norwich. Probably loads of others.

Eroica
2003-Dec-03, 05:31 PM
Ok we know Jesus was boring in teh lambing season becuase A. it say this in teh bible accounts and B that is when census was taken during the Roman rule.
You're mixing up two different accounts. The Magi and the Star of Bethlehem are in Matthew. The census, stable, lambs etc are in Luke.

pteranodon
2003-Dec-03, 07:21 PM
I voted for "something else". But I prefer to not specify it because very few people here would believe it anyway or even consider me a woo-woo. :wink:

Mr. X
2003-Dec-03, 07:24 PM
I believe they omitted the word "rock" before star.

So it's the Rock star of Bethleem.

They followed the rock star to the party (or "gig").

Avatar28
2003-Dec-03, 07:28 PM
I voted for "something else". But I prefer to not specify it because very few people here would believe it anyway or even consider me a woo-woo. :wink:

I'll bite. What was it. I may or may not believe it, but I won't consider you a woo woo. Woowoos are those that refuse to believe science or reason. Things like insisting planet x is doing y (and thus violating all the known laws of physics) are woowoos.

Lycus
2003-Dec-03, 08:09 PM
Unless you think the Star of Bethlehem was Planet X. :o

(Just kidding. :wink: )

SouthofHeaven
2003-Dec-03, 08:46 PM
Ok we know Jesus was boring in teh lambing season becuase A. it say this in teh bible accounts and B that is when census was taken during the Roman rule.
You're mixing up two different accounts. The Magi and the Star of Bethlehem are in Matthew. The census, stable, lambs etc are in Luke.

The main gist of the story is that a star guides the magi to bethlehem to see the son of god. THe reason Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem was for the census or was I taught wrong in sunday school. Anyway my conjecture is that looking for a planet conjuction or comet or any star formation supernova or other celestial event that happened in December woudl not give you the real "Star" becasue jesus was more than likely not born in December. BUt you would have to look to a time frame of March through April when most census taking was done during the Roman rule.

SouthofHeaven
2003-Dec-03, 08:47 PM
As I vaguely recall, it was something in the sky that rose in the east, that pointed them in that particular direction, not necessarily some sort of cosmic neon arrow pointing ata certain house.

And for the record, SouthOfHeaven, that l337 'teh' crap sucks swamp water...okay? Thanks. [-X

Forgive my typos, it happens some times. geez

SouthofHeaven
2003-Dec-03, 08:50 PM
Sorry, have to disagree with this:
They possibly did not know about planets.
The whole backbone of astrology IS the way the planets move through the collection of constellations across the ecliptic called the "Zodiac". All historic sources agree that what we have today by way of astrology was codified by the Babylonians and handed down essentially intact. So the Magi were working within a long-standing traditional discipline that included awareness of the planets.



So then we can rule out a planet. So it could possibly be a supernova or a nova. So it goes back to what I stated that we can calculate positions or stars in a specific time frame of say March through April from 7 BCE to 3CE and compare them to current star charts and see what is missing or now is a nebula or nova remanent.

daver
2003-Dec-03, 08:59 PM
BUt you would have to look to a time frame of March through April when most census taking was done during the Roman rule.

Well, we know that the census wasn't your typical census, because your typical census would be concerned with where people are currently living, not where they were born. So this particular census could presumably have been taken during an unusual time of the year as well.

Eroica
2003-Dec-03, 09:26 PM
The main gist of the story is that a star guides the magi to bethlehem to see the son of god. THe reason Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem was for the census or was I taught wrong in sunday school.
Yes, you were taught wrong. In Matthew, Jesus is born in a house in Bethlehem, presumably because that is where Matthew thought Joseph lived. He knows nothing about a census.

I don't want to get entangled in religious - as opposed to astronomical - issues, but the whole census story is ludicrous. The Romans carried out censuses for taxation purposes. If Joseph lived and worked in Nazareth (as Luke asserts), then that is where he would be registered. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if everyone had to find out where their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was born and go there to be registered! :-?

As for the nova or supernova hypothesis, the Chinese usually noticed these things. Did they record any around that time?

Archer17
2003-Dec-03, 09:51 PM
...As for the nova or supernova hypothesis, the Chinese usually noticed these things. Did they record any around that time?According to an article at csicop dealing with this topic (http://www.csicop.org/si/9911/gardner.html) there was a supernova around that time:
..Still another contender for the Star is a supernoval explosion that occurred in the spring of 5 B.C. in the constellation of Capricorn. You'll find this argued by British astronomer David H. Clark and two associates in The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (December 1977)..

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 03:59 AM
This probably comes up every Christmas, but a search of the board turned up nothing.
Maybe you should have searched for "Bethlehem" and "star" (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=115&start=0). :)

http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?108-The-Star-of-Bethlehem&p=1484&highlight=bethlehem#post1484

There are five naked-eye planets; you don't need a telescope to see them.

Actually, there are seven. :)


The Greek word used in Matthew 2 is "magoi", which quite specifically means "magi" or "magicians". They were the educated elite, members of a priestly caste of learned men who knew all about astrology.
Yep.

So, imagine three astrologers sitting around two thousand years ago. They have their star charts and they are familiar with them. They have a lot of experience at astronomy, it's their job, and they've been doing it for many years.

They're discussing the latest developments:

Alendo: Mars was very bright two years ago, I don't remember it getting so bright. I bet it will be even brighter this year.

Balshar: Yes! and look, it's retrograding in Pisces, that is the sign of the King.

Corminse: Got my maps. This will be easy to trace, there's hardly any stars in that part of the sky.

Alendo: Hey, Corminse, you missed one.

Corminse: No way. What, you're right! Maybe I missed it last year when I rechecked my maps, the skies are dark and clear this year. That makes 3211 stars in the sky--there goes your descending digits theory, Balshar.

Balshar: It was a simple theory, not important. Do you notice how Mars is circling that one, as it retrogrades and then progrades? Maybe it is a sign.

Alendo: I was the one who discovered it. It has to be important. It's in Pisces, after all.

Corminse: It can't be that important, it's not bright at all. I can barely see it.

Alendo: O, it's important all right, look it has moved!

Balshar: What! Only the planets move, and it is not bright enough to be a planet.

Corminse: Alendo is right, each night it has moved toward the west.

Alendo: It is a sign! The King was to arise in the west, we must journey!

***

Balshar: Your star has continued to move west. How far do we travel? We've been traveling for weeks.

Corminse: Let us stop here and consult with the King.

Alendo: Go ahead, I'm reworking the charts. I believe that the star has stopped moving. We must be close. It is due south of us in the early evening.

Balshar: Tell the King what we're doing, and let's head south then. What's south of here? Bethlehem?

***

Corminse: Alendo, your wonderous star is no longer on the charts in Pisces.

Alendo: I told you! It was a a sign from Heaven, to guide us. That little boy will grow up to do great things.

Balshar: His mother certainly agreed. Anyway, we're back to 3210 stars, so maybe my theory does have merit.

***

What was the "star"? Uranus (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/xmasstar.htm), not to be found again for centuries.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090107182959/http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/xmasstar.htm

The Bad Astronomer
2003-Dec-04, 04:46 AM
The star is mentioned by Matthew, but not Luke, yet they describe the same time period in their gospels. This is a pretty clear indication to me that the star was a fable. Signs in the heavens were a big deal, and it seems extremely unlikely to me that Luke wouldn't have mentioned it.

Besides the supernova theory (which I was unaware of, and will look into) there really are no strong candidates of real events in the sky. These people were very used to seeing stars and such in the sky, and IMO would have recognized a planetary conjunction for what it was. A nova is possible, but again, why didn't Luke mention it?

Archer17
2003-Dec-04, 05:10 AM
I agree BA, I think it's a myth myself. SciFi Chick comes up with an excellent point to ponder for those that think this could be an astronomical event (whether there was a nova or not):
..That said, it didn't exist. It couldn't have been a nova. Why? Because it wouldn't have led the wise men to a specific spot. It would be like looking at the moon which is never over a specific house or stable so to speak... I agree with this young lady. There's no celestial event that hovers over a specific location. It's that simple. SciFi Chick - you get a gold star for logical thinking in my book ..

Jpax2003
2003-Dec-04, 05:36 AM
Hard telling why the gospels vary on this issue. Perhaps the authors had different objectives or agendas in each one. Maybe someon added it later. Were the Jews big on astrology/astronomy in ancient times? Would it have seemed a pagan thing to do? besides, this happened at his birth, 33 years before the crucifixion, who'd remember it if they weren't there or heard someone mention it?

As for the date, some suspect that John hinted at it in verse 1:14 where he says "The word bacame flesh and dwelt among us" "dwelt" was tanslated from the greek "tabernacled", which is never used this way anywhere else in the bible. This may be a hint that Jesus was born on the Feast of Tabernacles on 15 Tishri (September/October). This feast required men to journey to the Temple... "What a good time for a census" thought some efficiency-minded roman.

We don't know the magi's level of knowledge of jewish customs, but all the commotion probably attracted their attention. It could have been a confluence of astrology, astronomy, or atmospheric phenomena. Perhaps it was a conjunction, or a supernova, or a comet, or an aurora (the chinese might be in daylight and miss it), or St. Elmo's Fire even. Perhaps there were thunderstorms to the south of Bethlehem. Is it possible it could have been a meteor/meteorite or several?

Absence of proof does not mean proof of absence.

Archer17
2003-Dec-04, 05:56 AM
... Perhaps it was a conjunction, or a supernova, or a comet, or an aurora (the chinese might be in daylight and miss it), or St. Elmo's Fire even. Perhaps there were thunderstorms to the south of Bethlehem. Is it possible it could have been a meteor/meteorite or several?

Absence of proof does not mean proof of absence.How can any of the above phenomena zero-in on Bethlehem? That's the problem I have with "natural" explanations. Whether one wants to believe such an event was "supernatural" is a matter of religious faith and something I won't touch, but as far as natural phenomena go: auroras, conjunctions (dates don't mesh and how can planets lead someone to Bethlehem?), St Elmo's fire, meteors (which last seconds), comets, supernovas don't cut it ..read SciFi Chick's post, she figured out the flaw in that kind of thinking Jpax

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 08:50 AM
Pisces is regarded as the zodiacal sign where evidence of the messiah will appear.
This is taken from the page kilopi links to. The triple-conjunction-of-Jupiter-and-Saturn-in-Pisces theory makes a similar claim about ancient astrologers associating Pisces with the Jews. What evidence is there that this was the case?

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 09:03 AM
What was the "star"? Uranus (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/xmasstar.htm), not to be found again for centuries.
Interesting. But there are a few problems with this theory. According to Matthew (and Luke), when Jesus was born Herod was still alive. Herod died in 4 BCE; the conjunction you refer to was in 1 BCE. Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. I still haven't been able to confirm that Pisces-Messiah connection

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 09:59 AM
What was the "star"? Uranus (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/xmasstar.htm), not to be found again for centuries.
Interesting. But there are a few problems with this theory.
Thanks for looking into it. I think it is fascinating.

(list of problems follows)

According to Matthew (and Luke), when Jesus was born Herod was still alive. Herod died in 4 BCE; the conjunction you refer to was in 1 BCE.
Yes, exactly the time that we've historically used. The Herod/Jesus problem seems to be based upon a single historian's notes, and may be ambiguous.

Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.

I hadn't heard that before.


I still haven't been able to confirm that Pisces-Messiah connection.
I'll do some fishing around as well. I believe even Kepler used it, no? Regardless, early astronomers/astrologers would have been motivated to closely observe Mars, since it had appeared so bright just the time before (as it did this year--and we know how big a deal that was :) ). A moving star would have been a strong sign, too.

You gotta admit, that's a pretty short list, as far as these sort of theories go!

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2003-Dec-04, 10:18 AM
Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.

I hadn't heard that before.

I have.

It's basically a confusion resuting from a mis-reading of the text.

Nazareth is a Hebrew word, meaning IIRC "Points on the Compass", which loosely translates as, somewhere over that-a-way.

The present town of Nazareth was actually founded about a Century later, and has, if anything, helped only to muddle the matter further, i.e. how can someone be born in a town that doesn't exist yet.

The real trouble arises if you try to reconcile all of this, into one compact story, ach the baby switching tales these people tell, why can't they just leave well enough alone?

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 10:43 AM
Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.

I hadn't heard that before.

I have.
Eh? You're saying that you've heard that He was born in Nazareth, but Nazareth didn't exist?

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2003-Dec-04, 10:58 AM
Eh? You're saying that you've heard that He was born in Nazareth, but Nazareth didn't exist?

Not exactly.

What I am saying, is that according to Old Testamen Prophecy, the New Messiah was to be born on "The points of the Compass", essentially a generic point in Israel.

However, after the founding of the town itself, the Translation became a little muddled.

To the best of anyone's knowledge, now and then, Jesus, if he even existed at all, was born in Bethlehem.

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 11:08 AM
Not exactly.
Ah! You've heard it before, but you don't agree with Eroica. Got it.

That knocks down the list from three items to two. :)

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2003-Dec-04, 11:16 AM
That knocks down the list from three items to two. :)

Yep

And I've heard of the Jewish-Pisces connection, but I'm unsure of its veracity.

As for the first one, you're probably right, little things like the death dates of petty warlords, tend to get mis-reported.

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 11:32 AM
As for the first one, you're probably right, little things like the death dates of petty warlords, tend to get mis-reported.
Josephus, the Jewish historian whose work seems to contradict the gospel accounts, was born a few years after Christ died. His account was probably written sixty years or more after the birth of Christ.

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 12:55 PM
It's basically a confusion resuting from a mis-reading of the text.

Nazareth is a Hebrew word, meaning IIRC "Points on the Compass", which loosely translates as, somewhere over that-a-way.

The present town of Nazareth was actually founded about a Century later, and has, if anything, helped only to muddle the matter further, i.e. how can someone be born in a town that doesn't exist yet.

Little of this is true. Nazareth (http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/nazareth.html) did exist at the time, although it was very small:

Nazareth probably gained its Hebrew name as a lookout or "watchtower" for the defense of Galilee [from natzar: "to watch" or "to guard"] ... Tombs & agricultural evidence (silos, cisterns, olive & wine presses) provide concrete evidence that the site was inhabited from the early days of Israelite occupation of the land [12th c. BCE]. But since it had only one spring, the ancient settlement was never large. The 1st c. village, whose population was less than 500, was overshadowed by the fortified town of Japha just one mile south ....
It seems clear from the gospels that Jesus was a Galilean, and all four name Nazareth as his hometown. The Evangelists believed that he was the Messiah, ergo he must have been born in Bethlehem, as had been prophesied. The fact that he was actually from somewhere else is only a small inconvenience to the writers of pseudo-history.

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 01:05 PM
Thanks for looking into it. I think it is fascinating.

(list of problems follows) ... [snip] ... You gotta admit, that's a pretty short list, as far as these sort of theories go!
I guess so, but my gripe is not with the theory. If there was a Star of Bethlehem, then Uranus in conjunction with Mars is as good a theory as I have heard. It is fascinating to think that astrologers might have discovered Uranus in 1 BCE.

But even if we accept that that was what the Star of Bethlehem was, and that Jesus was born at that time, and that he was born in Bethlehem, we still need divine intervention to get the Magi to the right house at the right time. Aren't these guys coming from Persia?

pteranodon
2003-Dec-04, 01:17 PM
I voted for "something else". But I prefer to not specify it because very few people here would believe it anyway or even consider me a woo-woo. :wink:

I'll bite. What was it. I may or may not believe it, but I won't consider you a woo woo. Woowoos are those that refuse to believe science or reason. Things like insisting planet x is doing y (and thus violating all the known laws of physics) are woowoos.

It was not Planet X for sure! :) I think Science's goal is not to debunk Religion, instead, Science casts light upon unknown phenomena in an unbiased way, I mean, describe the phenomena in standard terms, so everyone can understand it so points of view or personal beliefs would not distort it. There will be a time when Science will decode what the Star of Bethlehem was. This forum is not religion oriented, therefore I prefer to not discuss theories not currently accepted by science. I am a kardecist (christian spiritist) and my current understanding of the discussed phenomenum will go against other beliefs here.

Edit: When I was a child, I was stuck in my math homework and I said to my mother "I hate math!". Then she kindly said "Math will help you to understand God's mind." Since then, for me, religion and science are complimentary.

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 01:39 PM
But even if we accept that that was what the Star of Bethlehem was, and that Jesus was born at that time, and that he was born in Bethlehem, we still need divine intervention to get the Magi to the right house at the right time. Aren't these guys coming from Persia?
They also seemed to have asked directions alot, and knew many of the legends. So I don't see that as a strong objection.

The legends themselves, if they were prophesies which became fact, are pretty much inexplicable by anything we understand in science now.

Here's a long discussion (http://www.winshop.com.au/annew/Pisces.html) about Pisces. It associates Kepler with some of the first theories.

Ikyoto
2003-Dec-04, 01:57 PM
The census made while Quirinius was legate of Syria occurred in 6 CE when Augustus deposed Archelaeus, a full 10 years after Herod the Great's death. The contradiction between Matthew and Luke is then obvious: Jesus couldn't have been born during the census of Quirinius and during the reign of Herod the Great, because the events are separated by at least 10 years.

Sorry - I took a split major in history and psychology way back when - I think I was hoping to figure out just when the world went nuts.

I've never seen any evidence that the figure refered to as Jesus was born during any time when the pasages in the bible coencide with history or known occurances of an astonmical event that can also be within the same time frame. Non of it adds up. If this offends anyones religious beliefs, I'm sorry. If someone states a faith as a fact I have to say that in this case the facts do not support the faith.

Stuart
2003-Dec-04, 02:17 PM
So, imagine three astrologers sitting around two thousand years ago. They have their star charts and they are familiar with them. They have a lot of experience at astronomy, it's their job, and they've been doing it for many years. They're discussing the latest developments: (etc)

I love it; this little gem deserves to live forever.

An idea. Should there be a "Great Posts" forum where the BA can preserve posts he feels worthy of the honor for posterity?

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2003-Dec-04, 03:01 PM
An idea. Should there be a "Great Posts" forum where the BA can preserve posts he feels worthy of the honor for posterity?

Sounds like a great idea.

I hereby nominate your post about how Starfleet could Never have defended AR-558, against a Mordern Infantry Company.

I mean sheesh, does any Science Fiction Show, other than SG-1, of course, even come close to what an actual Millitary Force could do with Advanced Technology?

SciFi Chick
2003-Dec-04, 03:33 PM
It's that simple. SciFi Chick - you get a gold star for logical thinking in my book ..

\:D/ Thanks Archer17! I was beginning to think no one noticed and I really thought it was a pretty good point. I've just recently gotten into critical thinking in the last couple of years... this after years of being the polar opposite. So, it really means a lot when someone notices me being logical. :D

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 04:11 PM
Thanks for fishing ( #-o ) out that Pisces link, kilopi. I guess there is some basis to the Jewish association, although it's really only datable back to the 15th century:

Within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces took place the three distinct conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in the year 7 BCE (May 27th -0007, Sept 29th -0007, Dec 3rd -0007), - the year to which for a long time was assigned Christ's birth; these phenomena strikingly agreeing in some of their details with Saint Matthew's account of the Star of Bethlehem. The opinion that these appearances guided the Magi in their visit to Judeo was first advanced and advocated by the celebrated Kepler, and worked out in 1826 by Ideler and in 1831 by Encke. It is noticeable that the Rabbis held the tradition, recorded by Abrabanel in the 15th century, that a similar conjunction took place in Pisces three years previous to the birth of Moses, and they anticipated another at their Messiah's advent. Thus the Fishes were considered the national constellation of the Jews, as well as a tribal symbol.

As for the Magi, do you accept that a rational (ie not supernatural) explanation of the story is impossible? Even if there was an astronomical event which they interpreted to mean that a Messiah was to be born in Israel, and even if they managed to end up in Bethlehem (thanks to knowledge of Old Testament prophecies etc), what are the odds that they would arrive shortly after the birth of Jesus Christ?

Eroica
2003-Dec-04, 04:21 PM
I was beginning to think no one noticed and I really thought it was a pretty good point.
:oops: Sorry, SciFi Chick. It was a good point and I should have acknowledged it. It's one of the reasons why I think the story can't work without some divine intervention.

SciFi Chick
2003-Dec-04, 04:29 PM
:oops: Sorry, SciFi Chick. It was a good point and I should have acknowledged it. It's one of the reasons why I think the story can't work without some divine intervention.

No problemo. :D



what are the odds that they would arrive shortly after the birth of Jesus Christ?

Which gospel are you using btw? In one of them, the magi don't show up until Jesus is about 2 years old... does that still qualify as shortly after the birth in your mind?

kilopi
2003-Dec-04, 05:11 PM
Thank you, Stuart.

Thanks for fishing ( #-o ) out that Pisces link, kilopi.
heh heh


As for the Magi, do you accept that a rational (ie not supernatural) explanation of the story is impossible? Even if there was an astronomical event which they interpreted to mean that a Messiah was to be born in Israel, and even if they managed to end up in Bethlehem (thanks to knowledge of Old Testament prophecies etc), what are the odds that they would arrive shortly after the birth of Jesus Christ?
Anyone who is not religious is going to naturally discount any supernatural aspect--the religious are going to accept the supernatural as fact without question. These explanations (going back to Kepler) are an attempt to rationalize the apparently supernatural.

For the confirmed skeptic, the life of Jesus looks like a complete con job--an ancient version of the medicine show. As far as the odds go, I imagine our three wise guys were not the only ones back then searching--there were probably dozens if not hundreds every year setting out on some sort of quest. Even if you don't accept the divinity of Jesus Christ, and I don't mean you personally, it would seem that a lot of us (and I don't mean you and I personally) would be impressed (and probably convinced) even today if three sages showed up and laid expensive gifts at the feet of our offspring. Didn't I hear about a ten year old somewhere in the world who is experiencing something like that today?

Jpax2003
2003-Dec-04, 09:14 PM
... Perhaps it was a conjunction, or a supernova, or a comet, or an aurora (the chinese might be in daylight and miss it), or St. Elmo's Fire even. Perhaps there were thunderstorms to the south of Bethlehem. Is it possible it could have been a meteor/meteorite or several?

Absence of proof does not mean proof of absence.How can any of the above phenomena zero-in on Bethlehem? That's the problem I have with "natural" explanations. Whether one wants to believe such an event was "supernatural" is a matter of religious faith and something I won't touch, but as far as natural phenomena go: auroras, conjunctions (dates don't mesh and how can planets lead someone to Bethlehem?), St Elmo's fire, meteors (which last seconds), comets, supernovas don't cut it ..read SciFi Chick's post, she figured out the flaw in that kind of thinking Jpax

I'm not suggesting that they were blind followers of natural illuminations. However, these phenomena, combined with knowledge of prophecies (irregardless of whether or not they actually believed these prophesies) may have given additional direction or time elements. Scenario: Conjunction begins, start walking. Conjunction ends, stop walking.

Three wise guys walk towards Jerusalem 'cause that's the prophesy, plus the Feast of Tabernacles suggests they could find more people in the area who could confirm this for them. They get there, aurora starts, meteor seems to indicate direction so they start walking south. Aurora fades, they stop and wonder what to do next, they hear a baby crying in a barn... "hmm, that's funny..."

I'm not saying it happened that way, but to assume that astronomers/astrologers work in a vacuum is nonsense. Perhaps we should stop calling them astrologers or astronomers or even wise men. They were the state ministers of wisdom in international multicultural interdisciplinary studies.

As for the dates of the census, we should not be slaves to the efficiency of the modern era. I worked for the Bureau of the Census in 2000 and know that it takes around a year from start to finish (actually longer). However, a roman census in Gaul took nearly 40 years!

I also had references that suggested that Herod died at a different time (confusion on eclipses). I'll look for it and post it.

kilopi
2003-Dec-05, 12:18 AM
I also had references that suggested that Herod died at a different time (confusion on eclipses). I'll look for it and post it.
You must be thinking about Yet Another Eclipse for Herod (http://www.griffithobs.org/IPSPlanPlatt.html), by John Pratt.

Charlie in Dayton
2003-Dec-17, 02:47 AM
I agree with a previous poster...that these legendary happenings (how's that for a fast dodge?) were put down on parchment long after the fact. Succeeding translations and transliterations changed things to the point of being unrecognizable to the original.

I think that what it was, was a good story that got embellished to fit the prophecies, and eventually was drilled into the populace until they no longer questioned it -- not necessarily accepted it all as fact, just didn't question things any more...

kilopi
2003-Dec-23, 11:20 AM
The APOD for December 16, 2003 (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap031216.html) shows the retrograde motion of Mars that occurred earlier this year, and by coincidence, it includes the retrograde motion of Uranus.

As I mentioned before, Mars (http://solarviews.com/eng/mars.htm) with an orbital period of 686.98 days, and Uranus (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/) with a period of 30,589 days, would have performed a similar dance in 1BC (about 731576 days ago).

dvb
2003-Dec-23, 08:50 PM
I voted other as well. I believe it may have been a nova or supernova.

man on the moon
2003-Dec-25, 02:25 AM
i've heard several theories. between having grown up christian (ie miracle) and trying to understand things empirically (ie perhaps a well timed nova by the Man upstairs...) i have my thoughts. i am sure they will be resolved someday, but right now i must call my parents since, as the song says, "i'll be home for chrismas" and let them know when they can pick me up and such. i have to work tonight :( but will be home friday! christmas will have to procrastinate a day or two.

i'll try to gather my thoughts and put them down later. if someone else already has, i'll point to their post(s) and try to make my thoughts at least somewhat rudimentary on this rather intersting topic.

man on the moon
2003-Dec-26, 10:17 AM
this probably won't be all i had in mind, but it's five in the morning and i'm tired (a curse on work, specially all night) and i'm headed for home in the morning (not driving, don't worry) so whatever i type will be wahtever i type. no deep thought right now.

inetersting point on Uranus, kilopi, but would they have been aware of it? officially it wasn't discovered until recently. the ancients may have seen it, but would it have been significant enough to be meaningful?it's what, magnitude 6 on a dark night to the naked eye?

a similar theory i heard was one concerning the conjunction of the Moon and i believe Jupiter. it was on a video so i can't link to it. basically though it said that in 2 (3?0 or somewhere arnound there BC the Moon and Jupiter conjuncted (sp?) early in the year. about three or four months later they did again, and a third time late that year or early the next.

it could have been a supernova or nova, or possibly a comet.

not likely a meteor, those are a little too common to herald a king's birth.

eclipses too, while not "common" are not usually associated with a birth. especially of a king. aren't they usually signs of bad things?

they were astrologers, at least to some degree i would think. and intelligent indeed. it would have to have been something very rare indeed or spectacular for them to make such a tremendous journey.

the only question that comes to mind is, how did they follow it? any star i try to follow (not that i do, but if i did) would lead me in a somewhat parabolic or elliptical shape. i would get nowhere fast. perhaps they marched toward the place it rose or set each night, disregarding the rest of it's path?

i am not going to throw angels out the window. i grew up believeing the story and still do. sometimes i want a more reasonable answer though. and sometimes faith simply has to take over. needless to say, this may be one of those unanswered questions that will keep me looking for a long time to come. when put in the context of God as seen in the Bible, miracles are not impossible. they are tough for me to accept, and i know they are not considered proof on this board, so i won't push the issue.

whatever it was though, it makes for a good story and a wonderful holiday. i'm happy to read it, and take it at it's word until something more verifiable presents itself.

§rv
2003-Dec-29, 02:47 PM
Hey I just found this site on msnbc that discusses the possibilites of the star of bethlehem

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385/

milli360
2003-Dec-30, 06:36 AM
And, for Eroica, here is a Straight Dope thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=231763) with a different slant on the Pisces issue. Basically, the OP asserts that, just as we are supposedly entering the Age of Aquarius, two thousand years ago the astrologers were noticing that they were entering the Age of Pisces, and so they associated it with the coming One.

I dunno, sounds like a crock to me. I haven't heard yet exactly when the Age of Aquarius is supposed to happen. And we have computers.

Eroica
2003-Dec-30, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the link, milli360. One of the sites (http://www.eclipse.net/~molnar/) mentioned by §rv claims that Aries was associated with the Jews, not Pisces.

For religious and astronomical reasons people have proposed Pisces the Fishes as the site of the Star. A fish is a powerful Christian symbol. Also the spring equinox moved into Pisces close to the time of Jesus’ birth. So people assumed that Pisces was the sign for the dawning of Christianity – a beautiful but erroneous conclusion. Others have proposed Leo the Lion (thinking that this was the Lion of Judah), and others like Virgo the Virgin (believing that this was the Blessed Virgin Mary). Another notion claims “the manger” of Cancer the Crab. There are other clever ideas using Greek mythology and Christian symbols which have no basis in the ancient texts on Greek astrology.

For the record, the Spring Equinox does not enter Aquarius until 2597!

milli360
2003-Dec-30, 02:34 PM
For the record, the Spring Equinox does not enter Aquarius until 2597!
That's the wrong Aquarius, we are talking about the astrological Aquarius not the astronomical Aquarius--folks two thousand years may have had different constellation boundaries than we have defined today. :)

Of course, astrologically, Pisces is Feb. 19 through March 22 while Aquarius is Jan. 20 through Feb. 18, and they are fixed regardless of precession. The tropical year is fixed so that the equinox will never vary much. As long as Aquarius stays in February, the equinox will not be "in Aquarius". Sheesh.

Molnar has his own theory about the Star of Bethlehem--he claims to have received the first clue from an ancient coin that he purchased. He asserts that the sign is ambiguous, but that the sign should be Aries--and the westward leading star was also a planet in retrograde, Jupiter.

Eroica
2003-Dec-30, 08:54 PM
Of course, astrologically, Pisces is Feb. 19 through March 22 while Aquarius is Jan. 20 through Feb. 18, and they are fixed regardless of precession. The tropical year is fixed so that the equinox will never vary much. As long as Aquarius stays in February, the equinox will not be "in Aquarius".
You're right about the changing constellation boundaries, so 2597 is only precise as far as the modern boundaries are concerned. But you're wrong about the rest. The spring equinox may always fall around 21 March, but when it does so after 2597, the Sun will be in Aquarius. (Don't tell the astrologers, though. They still think it's in Aries! :D )

frenat
2003-Dec-30, 09:29 PM
Interesting writeup about the "star" here
http://www.jimloy.com/astro/beth.htm

milli360
2003-Dec-30, 09:49 PM
But you're wrong about the rest.
Wrong, since astrology is wrong? Or wrong in another way?

Eroica
2003-Dec-31, 08:45 AM
Wrong, since astrology is wrong? Or wrong in another way?
I may have misunderstood you (in which case, apologies). When you say "equinox in Aquarius" you seem to mean "equinox occurring between 20 Jan and 18 Feb." If so, then you're right: reform of the calendar means that the equinox is pretty much fixed to March 21/22 (give or take a day or two).

But when astronomers speak of the equinox being in Aquarius, they mean that at the time of the equinox the Sun is in the constellation of Aquarius. In about 600 years time that will be true. On 19 March 2597, the Sun will be in Aquarius.

milli360
2004-Jan-01, 01:54 PM
That's right.

And I agreed with the 2597 date, but the "Age of Aquarius" discussion is in the context of astrology, not astronomy.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Dec-05, 03:54 PM
The Chinese recorded some strange astronomical stuff around 5 BC like Supernova, Planet conjuctions and Comets...if we saw them today we would understand what they meant but in the Middle East they might have saw it as a sign from 'above'
I'm not sure what the China events recorded were, or what year it was but I'll try and check it out some time as I think it confirms the later Roman and Babylonian writing on the skies #-o

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Dec-05, 04:01 PM
Oops now that I think about it maybe China recorded a Nova not a Supernova around 6BC and the planet conjuctions were going in strange ways sort of bunched in famous European/Western constellations. A few mothns later in 5 BC a comet may have appeared according to Chinese recordings...don't know of any exact details or dates so I'd have to check up on all of this
:-?

If I were to vote I'd say it was multiple events that caused the Star to be recorded, I doubt very much it was an Asteroid or a Lunar Eclipse. Kepler eventually decided the Star was created by Gravity or some divine force between Jupiter and Saturn when they were close together, which made a nova. But we know today this theory would be false
nice try Kepler, you were very smart but you didn't know enough [-X

Fram
2004-Dec-06, 11:05 AM
Now that this old thread has been revived: why would three Persian astronomers believe in a Jewish legend about a Jewish King to come? Let alone the fact that they arrive exactly in Bethlehem, where Brian is just born (no, wait, wrong story, :oops: ), simply by following a planet? Let's say someone would follow a planet for a few thousand kilometers, would he be going in a straight line? How so? The Earth turns and wobbles and revolves and so on, so the position of that planet is ever changing. What direction do you take? (I voted myth, by the way :-) )

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-06, 03:03 PM
Now that this old thread has been revived: why would three Persian astronomers believe in a Jewish legend about a Jewish King to come? Let alone the fact that they arrive exactly in Bethlehem, where Brian is just born (no, wait, wrong story, :oops: ), simply by following a planet? Let's say someone would follow a planet for a few thousand kilometers, would he be going in a straight line? How so? The Earth turns and wobbles and revolves and so on, so the position of that planet is ever changing. What direction do you take?
You must be talking about my fable in this post (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=174418#174418). I think it kinda answers your questions, about following which direction. If you have others, feel free to ask 'em.

George
2004-Dec-06, 09:34 PM
I chose the miracle approach, at least for the latter account, as it seems too unnatural otherwise.

There is very little information given and only from chapter 2 in Matthew. [It is likely Matthew’s account did not need repeating. The book of Matthew is the prophetic verification book with over 40 passages linking to the old testament.]

1) (Matt 2:2) “Wise” men from East went to Jerusalem.

As stated earlier, they were maji and were astrologers/astronomers. Whatever they saw, it must have been significant enough to saddle-up and ride, yet, not so significant that others did not notice it, unless the Chinese noticed it. I would think Uranus would not be enough to load the camels.

A low mag. nova seems possible to me, however. Curiously, no mention by the wise me of the star being in the west, only that they observed it while they were in the east. This tells me it might not have been a fixed point in the sky/atmosphere and not rotating with the Earth, so it could be a celestial object. Also, assignment of kingdoms to constellations was not uncommon, IIRC. Therefore, I like the idea of the “star” (possible nova) in a constellation, and in the one for Judea. This might explain why they went to Jerusalem (and not Bethlehem initially) even thought they were Persian.

It’s my understanding, also, the event would have to be around 4 or 7 BC as the 4 BC death of Herod is suppose to be accurate.

2) (Matt 2:7) After arriving in Jerusalem, the wise men wanted to know where to go next. “Saying, where is he who is born king of the Jews?”

Whatever they saw must not have been capable of pin-pointing a location, otherwise, why bother with creating a fuss in Jerusalem. Also, those in Jerusalem, apparently, didn’t verify their observation since it was asked of the wise men when it had occurred. If it was shining over Bethlehem at the time, the folks in Jerusalem would have the clear advantage, but they made no notice. So, this supports a celestial event.

The wise men needed direction which they obtained. They were directed to Bethlehem based on prophesy (Micah 5:2).

3) (Matt: 2:9,10) “…the star which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came & stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

It is apparent they were surprised to see the “star”, again, after leaving Jerusalem and headed toward the near town of Bethlehem. Yet, how could it be a star if it stood over a certain location in town. This is where I see only a supernatural explanation. If the passage would have made mention of a beam of light shining through the clouds, then a natural explanation would be possible, I suppose. I realize supernatural arguments aren't popular around here (and for good reasons for which I agree :) ), therefore, I won't make any. Keep in mind, a pointing light ("star") is a trivial thing for an event that is regarded in Christianity as being, likely, bigger than the universe itself.

It might be worth noting that this last passage was not imperative to the story. They already knew to look in Bethlehem (thanks to the Jerusalem folks). Also, Bethelhem was a very small town at the time, so they could have possibly found the child eventually without this guiding light. Yet they were able to beat a lighted path to the door. I can't draw much conclusion from this point, but I thought it interesting.

and that's my 2 cents.

frogesque
2004-Dec-06, 10:03 PM
The APOD for December 16, 2003 (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap031216.html) shows the retrograde motion of Mars that occurred earlier this year, and by coincidence, it includes the retrograde motion of Uranus.

As I mentioned before, Mars (http://solarviews.com/eng/mars.htm) with an orbital period of 686.98 days, and Uranus (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/) with a period of 30,589 days, would have performed a similar dance in 1BC (about 731576 days ago).

Mathematical discovery of planets (http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Neptune_and_Pluto.html)

The first planet to be discovered was Uranus by William and Caroline Herschel on 13 March 1781. It was discovered by the fact that it showed a disk when viewed through even a fairly low powered telescope.

Uranus may possibly have been observed in Biblical times but I doubt if it's presence was widely known or thought significant.

I'll go for a comet or supernova if indeed there was a 'star' at all. I thought that at the time it was against Jewish Law to indulge in astrology and the whole story could have been tacked on at a later date.

Jewish Law (Halachah) (http://www.becomingjewish.org/law.html)


62. Don't engage in astrology Leviticus 19:26

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-07, 12:26 AM
Uranus may possibly have been observed in Biblical times but I doubt if it's presence was widely known or thought significant.
Mars had just performed one of its spectacular shows on the previous pass, after fifteen years of relative dimness. It's possible that they'd be anticipating another one, and watching it closely. As it looped in prograde/retrograde, it passed through a largely unpopulated area of the sky--another "star" would probably have been noticeable. And if the "star" started to move, they would have been shocked.

Fram
2004-Dec-07, 11:09 AM
A thousand Pardons, I was indeed talking about your fable. It's just that it's not convincing for me. I agree that they may have seen a star/planet, linked it for some reason to some prophecy they somehow knew about, and then headed to Jerusalem (I don't believe it, but it is possible). I don't believe they really 'followed' Uranus, because it's very hard to follow such a thing that is moving in circles (more or less) through the sky (well, the Earth makes the circles, but you know what I mean).
And I always fear with those fables that some people (perhaps not on this board) will see them as literal truth...

Candy
2004-Dec-07, 11:32 AM
I chose Venus, only because I was driving home and looked up to see the airplanes. My eye caught this huge 'celestrial object'. I asked Wolverine about it, and he said it was Venus. There was also a little 'celestrial object' to its left. It was just a beautiful, but not as big.

Didn't someone re-create the stars for this event with a computerized program (allowing for the date of his birth being off by what - 3 years)? I'm not sure if the star was Venus, though. Computerized programs were re-created for Egypt's Pyramids, and for Stonehenge, and...

The stars and planets do tell a lot about us humans and our history.

My two cents. :D

Eroica
2004-Dec-07, 01:02 PM
Didn't someone re-create the stars for this event with a computerized program (allowing for the date of his birth being off by what - 3 years)?
This is quite easy to do with desktop software, like RedShift, or Starry Night.

My opinion is that the story of the Nativity in Matthew is a complete fabrication. But the author, having read Numbers 24:17 ("There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel"), may have looked around for a possible astronomical fulfilment of this prophecy.

So even though the story of the Magi is fiction, there could well have been a real phenomenon on which the Star of Bethlehem is based.

As for the Magi following the star, which goes before them ... well, that's just the bad astronomy we still have to put up with today from people who know nothing about the subject.

Candy
2004-Dec-07, 01:15 PM
I hate to sound stupid here, but I recall that nothing was ever written about Jesus until 70 years after he died. Actually, nothing was ever written (there was no written text, yet). So wouldn't the majority of script sited be heresay? It's like the stories were written after the fact. And we all know how stories get fabricated after the fact, especially, 70 years after the fact.

Just a thought.

George
2004-Dec-07, 01:58 PM
I chose Venus, only because I was driving home and looked up to see the airplanes. My eye caught this huge 'celestrial object'. I asked Wolverine about it, and he said it was Venus. There was also a little 'celestrial object' to its left. It was just a beautiful, but not as big.
I figure the wise men must have seen something outstanding. Venus was a run-of-the-mill event. Why saddle the camels with gold and valuables just for Venus? They, apparently, did not travel with protection which was likely still a problem even under roman PAX. Something distinctive must have happened in the heavens.

Someone suggested constellations were assigned to kingdoms. I believe this is correct. If a celestial event (e.g. nova) occured in the constellation of Judea, this might inspire the loading of the camels for the devout maji.


I hate to sound stupid here, but I recall that nothing was ever written about Jesus until 70 years after he died. Actually, nothing was ever written (there was no written text, yet).
Supposedly, everything that was written (New Testament) came mostly from first-hand eyewitnesses. They, apparently, believed Jesus would return in their lifetime so carrying the message forward in text would be somewhat superfluous. Matthew and John were of the original 12 disciples (I'm pretty sure) who were with him for about 3 yrs. Jesus was likely a little over 30 when he departed.

It seems to have been years after this when serious writtings were conducted to keep the news in tact. Was it around 70 AD though? Maybe. Anyway, considering the religious zeal of these early Christians, it could be argued they would not want to fabricate a lie of any type as lying would be a serious problem. They had it surprisingly rough, first from their fellow Jews and then from the Romans later.


As for the Magi following the star, which goes before them ... well, that's just the bad astronomy we still have to put up with today from people who know nothing about the subject.
I agree with your view of this part of the story. Bad Astronomy here. The "star" was just a tad too selective to be a "star" [added: which directed them to the "young child"].

However, I do accept a supernatural assesment of a star-like beam for reasons (and others) stated in my earlier post.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-07, 02:48 PM
A thousand Pardons, I was indeed talking about your fable. It's just that it's not convincing for me. I agree that they may have seen a star/planet, linked it for some reason to some prophecy they somehow knew about, and then headed to Jerusalem (I don't believe it, but it is possible).
Well, that's all I'm saying. :)

I don't believe they really 'followed' Uranus, because it's very hard to follow such a thing that is moving in circles (more or less) through the sky (well, the Earth makes the circles, but you know what I mean).
In my "fable," Mars reaches opposition (I'm taking this from SkyMap, not making it up) in the middle of September. It had reached its most favorable opposition a couple years before, and probably caused about as much stir as it did last year here. It's next appearance was probably strongly anticipated. As Mars moved in retrograde through the thinly populated Pisces, it passed within 4 degrees of Uranus (a "new" star), then it looped back as it turned prograde and passed less than one degree away from Uranus. Meanwhile, Uranus had just started its retrograde motion, and was relatively stationary. Then, it started to move towards the west. It moves towards the west for months (Uranus essentially spends half the time in retrograde motion) and just after it stops its retrograde motion, it will be lost in the Sun. When it reappears, it will no longer be in Pisces.


As for the Magi following the star, which goes before them ... well, that's just the bad astronomy we still have to put up with today from people who know nothing about the subject.
I tried to provide a different explanation for that, in the fable.


I figure the wise men must have seen something outstanding. Venus was a run-of-the-mill event. Why saddle the camels with gold and valuables just for Venus? They, apparently, did not travel with protection which was likely still a problem even under roman PAX. Something distinctive must have happened in the heavens.

A moving "star" would have been extremely distinctive. :)

Plus, it takes care of the objection that only the astronomers seem to have been able to see it. If it were only sixth magnitude, the average citizen would have no clue about it.

Celestial Mechanic
2004-Dec-07, 06:34 PM
The Star of Bethlehem is also a surefire draw for planetariums. Maybe not as big as a Pink Floyd laser light-show, but enough to supplement the budget. :wink:

George
2004-Dec-07, 10:31 PM
...
Context and dialect are critical with many passages. For instance, did you know that many West Texans think these "wise men" were primarily firemen?

Gee, I thought someone would take this bait. #-o


[ :oops: I clicked edit instead of quote. sorry]

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-08, 01:10 AM
Apparently, they lost track of the "star", otherwise why ask directions.

Not necessarily. What if the "star" stopped moving?

George
2004-Dec-08, 08:28 PM
Apparently, they lost track of the "star", otherwise why ask directions.

Not necessarily. What if the "star" stopped moving?
There is no mention of "star" movement until after they left Jerusalem. Just what the wise men saw when they were in the east is quite speculative. It makes some sense they would go to the capitol of Judea, Jersualem if a specific location was not obtainable.

There are many sites which give interesting ideas including...
here (http://www.astronomynotes.com/history/bethlehem.star.html)
This reveals a nova recorded by the chinese in 5 BC. This was noted in Capricorn and not the more traditional consteallations for Judea (Pisces or Aries).

Michael Molnar (http://home.pe.net/~mjagee/procon1061.html)
Molnar (PhD) is an astronomer from Rutgers. (I believe, he is no longer at Rugtgers). He favors alignments, apparently.

mutant
2004-Dec-08, 09:30 PM
There was no star of Bethlehem. Too much myrrh can cause hallucinations.................... :P

Padawan
2004-Dec-08, 09:44 PM
I believe that it was a planetary conjunction

:)

Eroica
2004-Dec-09, 08:56 AM
As for the Magi following the star, which goes before them ... well, that's just the bad astronomy we still have to put up with today from people who know nothing about the subject.
I tried to provide a different explanation for that, in the fable.
Even the bit about the star stopping "over the place where the child was"? In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-09, 11:16 AM
There is no mention of "star" movement until after they left Jerusalem.
I"m not sure of what you mean here. Do you mean that the account says it started moving after? Or that the account doesn't mention it had moved, until in the account after?

In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)

George
2004-Dec-09, 02:40 PM
There is no mention of "star" movement until after they left Jerusalem.
I"m not sure of what you mean here. Do you mean that the account says it started moving after? Or that the account doesn't mention it had moved, until in the account after?
Here is the account (King James Ver)
Matt 2:1
... there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem
Matt 2:2
Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, ...

That is all that was said until they left Jersualem
Matt 2:9
...they departed [Jersualem]; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matt 2:10
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

IMO, the "star" probably was some actual celestial event. I like the nova in a constellation idea. This hypothesis would be verifiable if we knew which constellation. There was a recording by the chinese of a nova in 5 BC but in Capricorn, I think, and not the traditional constellation for Judea [Aries(lamb) or Pisces (fish)].

I wonder if we can use the Sloan Survey to check it out?

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-09, 04:07 PM
IMO, the "star" probably was some actual celestial event. I like the nova in a constellation idea. This hypothesis would be verifiable if we knew which constellation.
But why would it not have been noticeable to others?

Eroica
2004-Dec-09, 04:14 PM
In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)
:-? Okay, so it was overhead a lot of other places too - but Bethlehem wasn't one of them.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-09, 04:22 PM
In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)
:-? Okay, so it was overhead a lot of other places too - but Bethlehem wasn't one of them.
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.

George
2004-Dec-10, 12:34 AM
IMO, the "star" probably was some actual celestial event. I like the nova in a constellation idea. This hypothesis would be verifiable if we knew which constellation.
But why would it not have been noticeable to others?

Initially, while they were in the east, the "star" probably was observable to anyone who studied the sky. It could have been something the Chinese recorded as mentioned earlier. However, Judea was, likely, about the worst place to study astrology as it was very much against Judaism. It would be surprising if folks in Jersualem were active in sky observation.

Also, like today, there were many religions. These wise men were convinced that their interpretation was correct. At least correct enough to load the camels with some minor riches and head for Jersualem.

If you are refering to others observing the "star" as it led the wise men to the "young child", I do not see any natural event explaining it. Therefore, I suspect one must cross-over to religion at this point.

George
2004-Dec-10, 12:48 AM
In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)
:-? Okay, so it was overhead a lot of other places too - but Bethlehem wasn't one of them.
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
Mercury and Venus would not be this way, of course, but ya'll are working on Uranus. Just thought I'd throw it in.

Eroica
2004-Dec-10, 09:25 AM
In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)
:-? Okay, so it was overhead a lot of other places too - but Bethlehem wasn't one of them.
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
I understood your point. My point was that in 1 BC Uranus was in the zenith at locations about 0-5 degrees south of the equator. It could never have "stopped above the place where the child was". Whatever way you interpret that comment, it's BA.

Fram
2004-Dec-10, 10:12 AM
In 1BC Uranus was overhead at about 5S 30W (off the coast of Brazil).
What time of day was that? :)
:-? Okay, so it was overhead a lot of other places too - but Bethlehem wasn't one of them.
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.

That's what I meant when I said that it would be very hard to follow a star, you would be making half-circles or so every day (well, night). How do you pick a direction that way? I have to agree that the only way to read the story is as religion.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-10, 10:32 AM
IMO, the "star" probably was some actual celestial event. I like the nova in a constellation idea. This hypothesis would be verifiable if we knew which constellation.
But why would it not have been noticeable to others?
::snip::

If you are refering to others observing the "star" as it led the wise men to the "young child", I do not see any natural event explaining it. Therefore, I suspect one must cross-over to religion at this point.
That's kinda why I asked why you liked the nova in a constellation idea.


My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
Mercury and Venus would not be this way, of course, but ya'll are working on Uranus. Just thought I'd throw it in.
Mercury and Venus would never start out directly overhead--is that what you mean?


I understood your point. My point was that in 1 BC Uranus was in the zenith at locations about 0-5 degrees south of the equator. It could never have "stopped above the place where the child was". Whatever way you interpret that comment, it's BA.
That's why I came up with the explanation that I did.


That's what I meant when I said that it would be very hard to follow a star, you would be making half-circles or so every day (well, night). How do you pick a direction that way? I have to agree that the only way to read the story is as religion.
See my comment above to Eroica

George
2004-Dec-11, 03:24 AM
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
Mercury and Venus would not be this way, of course, but ya'll are working on Uranus. Just thought I'd throw it in.
Mercury and Venus would never start out directly overhead--is that what you mean?
Yes. Assuming the position of the "star" directed them westward, how could any "star" not be to the west. [Another reason why I prefer the unusual "star" in the Judea consteallation (whatever that one would have been to them)]

George
2004-Dec-11, 03:30 AM
...
Context and dialect are critical with many passages. For instance, did you know that many West Texans think these "wise men" were primarily firemen?

Gee, I thought someone would take this bait. #-o

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-11, 04:23 AM
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
Mercury and Venus would not be this way, of course, but ya'll are working on Uranus. Just thought I'd throw it in.
Mercury and Venus would never start out directly overhead--is that what you mean?
Yes. Assuming the position of the "star" directed them westward, how could any "star" not be to the west.
Depends upon how it "directed" them, right? The starts compell, etc. :)

George
2004-Dec-13, 12:30 AM
My point was that any celestial object rotates from horizon to horizon, and anything that is directly overhead at one minute, will not be directly overhead one minute later, anyway.
Mercury and Venus would not be this way, of course, but ya'll are working on Uranus. Just thought I'd throw it in.
Mercury and Venus would never start out directly overhead--is that what you mean?
Yes. Assuming the position of the "star" directed them westward, how could any "star" not be to the west.
Depends upon how it "directed" them, right? The starts compell, etc. :)
Yes. I agree with your views. Not enough information is given to nail down what happened to get them to Jerusalem. Some even say they traveled for up to two years. I like the "star" in the Judea constellation idea best as it would send them directly to Jerusalem.

frogesque
2004-Dec-13, 01:12 AM
I'm still inclined to think that if it was anything at all it was a comet. Most likely it's a bolt on myth added at a later date. Virtually nothing is known about the early life of Jesus other than flight to Egypt and even that is doubtful. If Herod really did order the infanticide of all the male newborn then there would have been a lot more written and a GREAT deal of civil commotion. That sort of thing just doesn't happen without someone noticing. Rome especially would have made some capital out of it.

Maksutov
2004-Dec-13, 06:23 AM
Using George's previously quoted material (thanks!):


Matt 2:1
... there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem
Matt 2:2
Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, ...
If they saw "his star" in the east and followed it, they would be traveling away from Jerusalem. Being east of of Jerusalem means they would have had to travel west to get to that city, and have been following something in the west. Or perhaps these guys were the first to circumnavigate the globe.


Matt 2:9
...they departed [Jerusalem]; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matt 2:10
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
If a "star" is hovering over a location on Earth, then it must be locked to Earth's rate of rotation. The only things that do this are geostationary satellites, and then only when their orbits are over the equator.

Since the area under discussion is about 32 degrees N latitude and 35 degrees E longitude, the best candidate for this stationary object would be due south, but not at the zenith. Instead it would be about 58 degrees from the southern horizon, a far cry from "overhead"

As with many myths, the astronomy is not good.

George
2004-Dec-13, 03:50 PM
Using George's previously quoted material (thanks!):


Matt 2:1
... there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem
Matt 2:2
Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, ...
If they saw "his star" in the east and followed it, they would be traveling away from Jerusalem. Being east of of Jerusalem means they would have had to travel west to get to that city, and have been following something in the west. Or perhaps these guys were the first to circumnavigate the globe.

Welcome to biblical interpretation. :) Since it stated they were from the east, it can be restated as...."we have seen his star [seen from] the east". Since they were maji and likely Persians (possibly from today's Iraq), it makes sense.



Matt 2:9
...they departed [Jerusalem]; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matt 2:10
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
If a "star" is hovering over a location on Earth, then it must be locked to Earth's rate of rotation. The only things that do this are geostationary satellites, and then only when their orbits are over the equator.
It still would not pinpoint any location on Earth. It would look overhead from every point on Earth as it would be may light years away.
[edit: oops, I was stuck on stars. A geosynchornous orbit would make some difference but not enough to pin it to a house]


as with many myths, the astronomy is not good.
I agree. Something supernatural would have had to occur, IMO, for this portion of the story.

George
2004-Dec-13, 03:59 PM
I'm still inclined to think that if it was anything at all it was a comet. Most likely it's a bolt on myth added at a later date. Virtually nothing is known about the early life of Jesus other than flight to Egypt and even that is doubtful. If Herod really did order the infanticide of all the male newborn then there would have been a lot more written and a GREAT deal of civil commotion. That sort of thing just doesn't happen without someone noticing. Rome especially would have made some capital out of it.
As you might guess, there are explanations for this. Some say Herod was brutal. Also, the infanticide may not have been large in nubers slain, as Bethlehem was small. I have not studied much on this, however.

Chuck
2004-Dec-19, 04:37 AM
The star of Bethlehem was two time machines materializing at the same time and place. With so many time travelers wanting to see the birth of Christ it was bound to happen.

Kizarvexis
2004-Dec-19, 04:45 AM
The star of Bethlehem was two time machines materializing at the same time and place. With so many time travelers wanting to see the birth of Christ it was bound to happen.

LOL :lol: =D>

Kizarvexis

Celestial Mechanic
2004-Dec-19, 05:07 AM
If the three Wise "Men" had bothered to ask for directions instead of following stars/comets/supernovae/planetary conjunctions they could have made it to Bethlehem ON TIME instead of arriving twelve days late!
:lol:

2004-Dec-19, 09:15 AM
I've opted for "Sometthing Else". The only thing that I can think of, is a nova... :D :D :D :D :D :D :D #-o #-o #-o

captain swoop
2004-Dec-20, 11:44 AM
When I was in York last week I had a beer in the Star of Bethelehem.

beskeptical
2004-Dec-30, 07:50 PM
Late comment on this thread but I didn't want to start a new one. Did anyone, (toseek maybe :lol: ), yet address the fact the night sky moves continually? (Yes yes, the Earth moves, so we're talking relative motion here.)

So if there was a star "in the East" that certainly wouldn't lead anyone to a specific spot like a manger in Bethlehem. And if it were directly overhead, say at it's zenith, the size of the area that it appeared to be overhead of would be considerable.

I voted myth based on the impossibility of the story's validity.

And how was this story supposedly relayed to the author of whichever book it is in? It had to be word of mouth at best and totally made up at worst. Neither is a reliable historical account.

Parrothead
2004-Dec-30, 08:11 PM
Here (http://www.space.com/spacewatch/star_bethlehem_021220.html) are some theories were listed at space.com a couple of years ago.

George
2004-Dec-30, 08:39 PM
Late comment on this thread but I didn't want to start a new one. Did anyone, (toseek maybe :lol: ), yet address the fact the night sky moves continually? (Yes yes, the Earth moves, so we're talking relative motion here.)

So if there was a star "in the East" that certainly wouldn't lead anyone to a specific spot like a manger in Bethlehem. And if it were directly overhead, say at it's zenith, the size of the area that it appeared to be overhead of would be considerable.
It is logical to assume it was the observers which were "in the East" when they observed the "star". Otherwise, why would the majis from the east travel west to Jerusalem?


I voted myth based on the impossibility of the story's validity.
I'm guessing only something supernatural could explain light directing specific travelers to a specific location after they departed Jerusalem. However, Maji seeing something which would have led them to Jerusalem in search for a new King is plausible for me.

Launch window
2005-Nov-30, 11:57 PM
I voted other as well. I believe it may have been a nova or supernova.

maybe that's possible

Arneb
2005-Dec-01, 03:29 AM
I voted for conjunction. We have a very well respected TV series here in Germany, and the host (a professor of astronomy) made the case quite convincingly. IIRC, the conjucntion story is also the one that Kepler favoured. So the suggestion has a very good pedigree.

By the way I am convinced that the Star of Bethlehem was something. Astrology (then indistinguishable from - onomy) was so rife at that age that it is hardly believable that the people who wrote the Gospels would not have been inspired by some bromonent celestial event.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-01, 05:14 PM
Ten years ago, when I first saw the graphic illustration of the Local Bubble by Alyssa Goodman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Sky & Telescope, I immediately recognized the shape as a supernova remnant...thought to be from Geminga, a nearby pulsar. It's true, that it's not exact, but the ellipticality looks like lots of radio maps of remnants of other known remnants (Manchester, Kesteven,Lyne, Harrison, et. al). but, this was not only close, we were living in it. I remember thinking, "That had to be unbelievably bright." The famous supernova 1987A was ~160,000 light years away. The epicenter of the Local Bubble was diagrammed at approximately 180 light-years from it's edge,but only about~ 35 light years from the sun. Luminosity is inverse square law, so that would have made it about 3,000,000 times brighter, if the progenitor was as large as Sanduleak 69 202..~20 solar masses.
I spent some time researching the Local Bubble, and found that ice core records indicated that at least two dustings of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets from supernovae had occurred in the last 150Kyr. That meant that the Local Bubble was relatively cleanly swept of dust..(which is how it is defined). So I put some supernova numbers to it from the literature. Alexei Fillipenko, also of the CFA at one time, published data following SN1987A, indicating that the expansion velocity for the ejecta cloud of 1987A was 25,000 +or- 5000 km/sec. That's ~ one tenth the speed of light. (Ap.J). So if the Bubble is today about 180 light-years in diameter, at an absolute minimum, it would have been created in a supernova 1800 years ago..(assuming the moving wall is still going at c/10.) But, the present velocity of the wall is closer to 25-30 km/sec, and there is no indication of relativistic interactions with the ISM (Local Bubble CMB ATM thread). So, obviously it has decelerated, braking, releasing energy in a visible optical display, followed by an infrared display, and then a microwave/radio display. But the rationale I used in ATM uses an assumption of a homogeneous interstellar medium, because it eases the calculation for the model. The ice core record pretty much dictates that the already-swept bubble has an inhomogeneous density....thick near the edges. So the ejecta could have traveled rapidly for centuries, and then decelerated abruptly to it's present seen velocity. If so, it should have passed through the solar system sometime between 350 AD, and 600 AD. I wrote up a little story on this, walked into the Haverhill office of the Pulitzer Prize winning Lawrence Eagle Tribune, and talked to reporter/editor Andrew Spano. It is entirely possible, but not guaranteed, that the Star of Bethlehem of legend was in fact a real object, a brilliant local supernova. Andy liked the idea, and agreed to run it. (I know, how dare I go to the press.) Unfortunately there was a terrible fire at Malden Mills, a nationally captivating story, where Aaron Feuerstein, CEO saved peoples jobs and became Man-of-the-Year in Time. It also, understandably delayed column space for what I intended as a little story. Near Christmas Eve, they ran it..170,000 copies.
Since then Prof. Michael Baillie of Queens College, Dublin has found tree ring data indicating a planet-wide catastrophic loss of life circa 542 Ad. ~ 70% of the population of China perished, and civilizations collapsed worldwide. It was the end of the Roman Empire. It is not clear yet whether it was volcanic, or interstellar dusting,(I'll take pointers) but it fits the time frame of 350-600 AD in the story.
It would have been bright enough to be seen day or night at that distance, would have lasted for weeks, and if the data from the supernova 1987A gravity wave, prompt neutrino bursts coincidences quoted elsewhere at a 99.99% confidence level is true, would actually have sent a palpable gravity wave, just before the optical display brightened. So you can imagine shepherds in a dark field (I've done that) standing under a dark sky(many of you have done that) feeling a light jolt, like the p-wave from an earthquake, only it's the sky shaking you and the earth....and suddenly a brilliant star grows to fill the night. The physics, astronomy and the geophysics say it's at least possible. I vote for a nearby supernova , ~2005 years ago. ;) Ciao.Pete

Fram
2005-Dec-02, 09:42 AM
[snip!]
Since then Prof. Michael Baillie of Queens College, Dublin has found tree ring data indicating a planet-wide catastrophic loss of life circa 542 Ad. ~ 70% of the population of China perished, and civilizations collapsed worldwide. It was the end of the Roman Empire. It is not clear yet whether it was volcanic, or interstellar dusting,(I'll take pointers) but it fits the time frame of 350-600 AD in the story.

Incorrect. The Roman Empire had crumbled before, and 542 AD is smack in the middle of the reign of Justinian I (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I), one of the great rulers of the (Eastern) Roman Empire, and a period of growth, not of mass destruction and crumbling. The only interesting thing is that the bubonic plague first is noted in this period (542). Similarly, a small pox epidemic killed millions in Japan in 552 AD. But then again, famines, epidemics, and natural disasters killed millions very regularly, and I can't find anything special about the period around 542 AD concerning China. Of course, a bubonic plague can kill some 70 % of a population, but I don't think you can find it in tree rings.
Or it can have been the black death (http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=the_black_plague):

the Black Death is usually associated with Europe and the period 1346-1350 but it neither began nor ended then. The earliest records of this pestilence are in China. In 46 AD an epidemic in Mongolia killed two-thirds of the population. In 312 northern and central China became a wasteland and in the province of Shensi, only one or two out of 100 taxpayers survived. In 468, 140,000 people died in the Chinese cities of Honan, Hopei, Shantung and others. During the next 900 years this pestilence traveled slowly throughout China and the Middle East though major outbreaks were not common.
The chances of an extremely bright supernova in the period 350-600 AD not appearing in any Roman chronicles (or anywhere else in the world) seems very small, by the way. The explanation that it was a comet (fragments) bombardment seems more sound.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-02, 02:20 PM
Fram, point taken,I'll search for the reference from Baillie's conferences on catastrophism about his date. But, it was the dust ejecta from the supernova that should have passed by the solar system some 350-600 years later.....the supernova itself was long history by then. The bright optical display lasts decades at best...powered by short lived isotopes in the first few months, the light curve drops rapidly. Pete

What I'm searching for also, is lunar soils, and Mars rover data for anomalous supernova isotopes, indicating passage of the dust also. Some solar system specialists have argued that the solar wind would keep it out, but the two ice core records say no, that's not true. Of course the ejecta is not entirely dust, a 25 solar mass supernova would push out about a solar mass of water, since hydrogen and oxygen are plentiful (Stanford Woosley), though it may be plasma in the early years. Would it have rained on Mars? I can't say definitively. I believe the rover data indicates slow ancient sedimentation more likely. Pete

dvb
2005-Dec-02, 04:02 PM
Interesting. This thread has been going for 3 years consecutively during the christmas season.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-02, 04:27 PM
FRAM, here is the Baillie ref.
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39b91ca42b27.htm

Pete.

Grand_Lunar
2005-Dec-02, 05:00 PM
I have often read that the "Star of Bethlehem" was a close conjuction of Jupiter and Venus. Such a thing would make sense.
If memory serves, such a calculated conjuction woudl've taken place around that time frame.

Fram
2005-Dec-02, 09:57 PM
FRAM, here is the Baillie ref.
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39b91ca42b27.htm

Pete.

Thanks, I'll look at it. And I had missed the point you made that the light of the nova would have been here much earlier :wall: Good one!

mugaliens
2005-Dec-03, 12:33 AM
I don't see how deciding the star existed is the alternative to "discussing" religion. As long as we don't argue with people who don't believe it existed or with people who do, then it's not a religious discussion. :)

That said, it didn't exist. It couldn't have been a nova. Why? Because it wouldn't have led the wise men to a specific spot. It would be like looking at the moon which is never over a specific house or stable so to speak.

I believe it was a nova, as I've read long ago that such events were recorded by others (China?) within a few years of the "official" birth of christ.

It may not have hovered over the stable, but it may have been lower in the sky and given them a general direction to head until they came to Bethlehem where the learned about the "christ child."

Heartwarming story. Appropriate for Christmas. Not sure where I stand with it personally, though. But it does bring back memories from my youth.

Fram
2005-Dec-04, 08:58 PM
I believe it was a nova, as I've read long ago that such events were recorded by others (China?) within a few years of the "official" birth of christ.

It may not have hovered over the stable, but it may have been lower in the sky and given them a general direction to head until they came to Bethlehem where the learned about the "christ child."

Heartwarming story. Appropriate for Christmas. Not sure where I stand with it personally, though. But it does bring back memories from my youth.

Same problem as with most other explanations. Nothing has a fixed point in the sky (a fixed direction), but turns with the rotation of the Earth (except polar star, but they weren't going due north). So such an explanation needs additional requirements, like "they went in the direction the star had at midnight" or so...

jt-3d
2005-Dec-05, 12:19 AM
Possibly a nova which was only visible in the west after sundown but set an hour or three after the sun. I remember Hale Bopp doing that. I don't think it could have been any planetary conjunction since everybody most likely knew every visible object in the sky already. But then a conjunction could have been taken as a sign. Argg, if we just knew that exact date it would take about 30 seconds to find out what it was.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-06, 12:49 AM
A rough calculation for the Geminga supernova,based on it being ~ 30 light-years away, instead of 160,000 as SN1987a was, yields ~ magnitude +18. SN1987a was ~ +3. Hard to miss that.:shhh:
Starlight, Starbright, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight............pete

Candy
2005-Dec-06, 01:24 AM
I thought I would see jk"jules"resurrecting here, but I did not.

Is the Star of David the same as the Star of Bethlehem? Just wondering. :shifty:

Gsquare
2005-Dec-06, 04:19 AM
Starlight, Starbright, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight............pete

Thanks Pete;
The point is, whatever it was, the wise men were able to find Christ by following the 'star'.

Today, wise men still seek Him.

Merry Christ-mas,
Gsquare :)

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-06, 09:10 AM
I thought I would see jk"jules"resurrecting here, but I did not.

Is the Star of David the same as the Star of Bethlehem? Just wondering. :shifty:
No ...

The Star of David, is Simply King David's, Probably Retroactively Derived, Heraldic Ensign ...

It was Seldom Used, Until the Holocaust, After Which, we TOOK It, Back!

Fram
2005-Dec-06, 09:38 AM
A rough calculation for the Geminga supernova,based on it being ~ 30 light-years away, instead of 160,000 as SN1987a was, yields ~ magnitude +18. SN1987a was ~ +3. Hard to miss that.:shhh:
Starlight, Starbright, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight............pete

I think it was some 300 lightyears away (http://astrosun2.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/geminga.htm) (or 100 parsecs), not thirty, but it still would have been hard to miss indeed.

Maksutov
2005-Dec-06, 10:40 AM
The answer to the question posed in the OP is quite simple.

The "Star of Bethlehem" is something that is part of a text from the early centuries of the CE. There are no separate, confirming accounts from other sources of such an object. It's noteworthy that of the four accounts of the leading character's origins and life, the "Star" is mentioned in only one.

Therefore, based on the written and historical context, and lack of objective astronomical evidence, the most probable and simplest explanation is the imagination of the writer(s).

trinitree88
2005-Dec-07, 03:32 AM
I think it was some 300 lightyears away (http://astrosun2.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/geminga.htm) (or 100 parsecs), not thirty, but it still would have been hard to miss indeed.

Yes, the literature gives that as the pulsar distance, though another post in these forums indicates a 50% error in a pulsar distance estimate(not Geminga). The distance I used comes from the approximate shape of the Local Bubble with a distance scale in the article in Sky & Tel by Alyssa Goodman of the Harvard Smithsonian CFA.....that shows the epicenter about 30 lt-yrs from Sol. [I've seen other estimates of 400 lt-yrs to Geminga, which puts it in the vicinity of the Pleiades....one of which apparently disappeared during the Trojan Wars, a time frame way off ~1800 BC] They may yet find another pulsar in the Bubble, nearer to the original epicenter. Remember, the ice core records say at least two other supernovae in the last 120,000 yrs., in the Bubble. Pete

LurchGS
2005-Dec-07, 03:38 AM
I think it was bad shelfish, myself

hhEb09'1
2005-Dec-07, 08:33 AM
A rough calculation for the Geminga supernova,based on it being ~ 30 light-years away, instead of 160,000 as SN1987a was, yields ~ magnitude +18. SN1987a was ~ +3. Hard to miss thatThat would be a decrease of 18 magnitudes, right? :)
I thought I would see jk"jules"resurrecting here, but I did not. It comes around every year about this time. BTW, I sent you a PM but your mailbox was full apparently so it bounced back
The "Star of Bethlehem" is something that is part of a text from the early centuries of the CE. There are no separate, confirming accounts from other sources of such an object. It's noteworthy that of the four accounts of the leading character's origins and life, the "Star" is mentioned in only one.

Therefore, based on the written and historical context, and lack of objective astronomical evidence, the most probable and simplest explanation is the imagination of the writer(s).Here's one explanation (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=154445#post154445) that was partly devised so that it avoided that objection--there was another confirming report, but hundreds of years later

trinitree88
2005-Dec-07, 02:02 PM
hhEb09'1 Yup, minus 15, my bad. :doh: Just extraordinarily different from any celestial object seen in the last 50,000 years. One of the ice record supernovae was ~ 60,000 years ago. Thanks. kudos. Pete

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-08, 02:44 AM
Here's one explanation (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=154445#post154445) that was partly devised so that it avoided that objection--there was another confirming report, but hundreds of years later
Only Problem, with That, Is The Same One, Phil Pointed Out ...

Luke Considered himself, To Be Something Of a Historian, he Even Says So, In The First Paragraph, Of his Gospel ...

For him, NOT, To Have Mentioned It, Makes One Question Its Veracity, Don'tcha Think?

:think:

Candy
2005-Dec-08, 03:06 AM
BTW, I sent you a PM but your mailbox was full apparently so it bounced back
I cleaned my PM's out. :shifty:

Wolverine
2005-Dec-08, 09:13 AM
The point is, whatever it was, the wise men were able to find Christ by following the 'star'.

Today, wise men still seek Him.

Merry Christ-mas,
Gsquare :)

Gsquare, I must offer a reminder that proselytizing is not allowed on this forum, as noted in the FAQ (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=564845#post564845).

Monique
2005-Dec-08, 06:54 PM
I do not wish trouble. Is difficult to find other sources to document many aspect of christmas story. I think star is metaphor to use for symbolize Christian belief in new hope.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-08, 08:56 PM
There is as yet no definitive, incontrovertible evidence of a 2005 year old supernova. It's a physical possibility at this point. The case would be immensely strengthened if lunar soil samples (yes, we went there and brought them back)...contained unexpected, stratified supernova isotopes. I'm not familiar enough with lunar soil sampling to know if they were scooped only, or cored to some extent. If you know a planetary scientists work defines this please let me know..PM, e-mail... Another point would be similar stratigraphic records from marine basins, volcanic lakes, ice cores other than Vostok, Greenland. Snowfall in Greenland suggests in the vicinity of the 1000-1200 ft deep layer. (I took the trip to UNH Durham to speak with geophysicists there 10 years ago). Foraminifera incorporate oxygen isotopes reflecting ambient abundances in seawater which also should have spiked at that era (542 AD.). Even anomalous tree ring data indicating supernova isotopes is possible...the cold spell is already there. Dendrochronology of the last two millenia is much more complete with computerization. Thanks. Pete.

hhEb09'1
2005-Dec-11, 10:08 PM
Only Problem, with That, Is The Same One, Phil Pointed Out ...

Luke Considered himself, To Be Something Of a Historian, he Even Says So, In The First Paragraph, Of his Gospel ...

For him, NOT, To Have Mentioned It, Makes One Question Its Veracity, Don'tcha Think?Phil's post (http://www.bautforum.com/showpost.php?p=154459#154459) says "Signs in the heavens were a big deal" and goes on to talk about novas and planetary conjunctions that would have been visible to a lot of people. As Phil says, that probably rules those sort of things out, true--but what I discussed was none of those. It was an astronomical occurrence that would not have been noticed by a lot people. So the objection doesn't apply, really.

PS
I cleaned my PM's out. So I just resent the message--but it's not much, really

Candy
2005-Dec-12, 06:38 AM
I do not wish trouble. Is difficult to find other sources to document many aspect of christmas story. I think star is metaphor to use for symbolize Christian belief in new hope.
I thought that, too, like the movie Jewel of the Nile where the Jewel is a person. I'm no expert, so this is just my opinion, but some "stories from the Bible" have been somewhat "proven". Through many years of "telling" before actually putting it in writing makes things a little obscure, never-the-less, they match up with names, dates, and locations.

I like watching amateur astronomers debate something from the Bible for it's accuracy. I don't why, but I do. :)

Edit to add: You're welcome, Grapes! & Would somebody find the Ark already?

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-12, 07:34 AM
I thought that, too, like the movie Jewel of the Nile where the Jewel is a person. I'm no expert, so this is just my opinion, but some "stories from the Bible" have been somewhat "proven". Through many years of "telling" before actually putting it in writing makes things a little obscure, never-the-less, they match up with names, dates, and locations.

I like watching amateur astronomers debate something from the Bible for it's accuracy. I don't why, but I do. :)

Edit to add: You're welcome, Grapes! & Would somebody find the Ark already?
Don't Know, How they Possibly Could ...

Even IF, It Existed, Noah Would've Chopped It Up, For Firewood, Long Before, The First Trees Grew Back!!!!

As For, Proven Things, From The Bible:

The Story Of Aaron, Brother Of Moses, Founding The Priestly Class, Almost Certainly, Has Quite a Bit Of Truth to It, But, Then Again, When an Entire, Male-Descended Line, Sequesters Itself Enough, To Make It That Easy, To Do a Y Chromosome Comparison, Learning Something Important, Is Almost, Child's Play!!!!

Candy
2005-Dec-12, 07:53 AM
Even IF, It Existed, Noah Would've Chopped It Up, For Firewood, Long Before, The First Trees Grew Back!!!!
That is great. :lol:

From what I read, I don't think the flood was a world wide flood, so perhaps Noah did abandon it. I'd think it would've rotted and/or disintegrated in the mud by now, though.

trinitree88
2005-Dec-12, 02:04 PM
That is great. :lol:

From what I read, I don't think the flood was a world wide flood, so perhaps Noah did abandon it. I'd think it would've rotted and/or disintegrated in the mud by now, though.

Hi Candy. There's a video somewhere on the search for Noah's Ark with a French mountaineer, recovering fragments of a beam, ostensibly from the Ark on the high slopes of Ararat. It was later carbon-dated to ~ 8000 years? ( I believe). In the sixties, National Geographic ran an aerial photo taken by a tourist plane of Ararat's slopes during a particularly mild summer. It showed unmistakably the outline of a boat-like shape with the rough dimensions, in Biblical cubits of the Ark. Turkey has restricted land archeological expeditions in the area for decades, and Ararat is not that easy of a territory to conduct a dig in. makes you think. Pete:think:

Fram
2005-Dec-12, 04:13 PM
Well, no, it doesn't make me think. Some checkable evidence of any sort, that would make me think.

Wolverine
2005-Dec-12, 07:44 PM
Let's be careful not to get into Biblical matters that fall outside this forum's scope. I would, however, like to offer these two related articles (one (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH500.html), two (http://www.skepdic.com/noahsark.html)).

Candy
2005-Dec-12, 10:08 PM
Let's be careful not to get into Biblical matters that fall outside this forum's scope. I would, however, like to offer these two related articles (one (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH500.html), two (http://www.skepdic.com/noahsark.html)).
Thanks, Wolverine! I like reading this kind of stuff. :)

trinitree88
2005-Dec-12, 10:20 PM
Let's be careful not to get into Biblical matters that fall outside this forum's scope. I would, however, like to offer these two related articles (one (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH500.html), two (http://www.skepdic.com/noahsark.html)).

Wolverine. I won't get into it in a big way. I think it was Leonard Nimoy in the "In Search of" videos. An expedition would be nice. I distinctly recall the National Geographic image. It was from a plane,close enough to show vegetative colorations,the outline of the boat, and areas with wildflowers...not individual flowers, what a gardener would call "drifts" of flowers. They were yellow bands.

The first link....one.....unfortunately speaks of a 1949 satellite image....which kind of brings a lot of the rest under light suspicion. Sputnik was in the mid-fifties. We all make boo-boos. The rest are interesting, but I have way too much on my plate. I acquiesce. Thanks for the help. Pete :)

Monique
2005-Dec-12, 10:25 PM
Wolverine. I won't get into it in a big way. I think it was Leonard Nimoy in the "In Search of" videos. An expedition would be nice. I distinctly recall the National Geographic image. It was from a plane,close enough to show vegetative colorations,the outline of the boat, and areas with wildflowers...not individual flowers, what a gardener would call "drifts" of flowers. They were yellow bands.

The first link....one.....unfortunately speaks of a 1949 satellite image....which kind of brings a lot of the rest under light suspicion. Sputnik was in the mid-fifties. We all make boo-boos. The rest are interesting, but I have way too much on my plate. I acquiesce. Thanks for the help. Pete :)
If you have link to image and information concern image then is admissible.

Candy
2005-Dec-12, 10:35 PM
Oops, I didn't mean to hijack the thread. If the thread gets split, will someone let me know? :shifty:

Wolverine
2005-Dec-13, 03:40 AM
Wolverine. I won't get into it in a big way. I think it was Leonard Nimoy in the "In Search of" videos.

I'm sure I've seen that episode, although it's been years. It should be noted that the In Search Of series wasn't exactly a bastion of objectivity. ;)

LurchGS
2005-Dec-13, 04:10 AM
The first link....one.....unfortunately speaks of a 1949 satellite image....which kind of brings a lot of the rest under light suspicion. Sputnik was in the mid-fifties. We all make boo-boos. The rest are interesting, but I have way too much on my plate. I acquiesce. Thanks for the help. Pete :)

The article says satellite, but if you follow the link, it talks about a USAF aerial photo. Just a stab in the direction of accuracy..

Back to the star.. I am inclined to think it's either allegory, or a person (as somebody suggested, bringing up The Jewel of the Nile)

Candy
2005-Dec-24, 06:30 PM
What was the Star of Bethlehem? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385/)

Through the years, astronomers and others have proposed a variety of objects for the Christmas star — comets, an exploding star or a grouping of planets. Some suggest that the star was a miracle created especially by God. Such a suggestion cannot be proved or disproved, and it is entirely outside the realm of science. But there’s no need to resort to miracles, given the actual astronomical events of the time.
The search continues...
The article even brings up Astrology. I should go through and just document all the possibilites and post them, but I need to get ready for work. :(

LurchGS
2005-Dec-24, 07:11 PM
I take back the idea that it might be a person - somethign like that would be documented elsewhere

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 05:52 AM
However, if we suppose that the “star” actually referred to the planets, the situation is less problematic. The movements and groupings of planets in the night sky were of exceeding interest to astrologers and were closely tracked around the world. Historical records and modern-day computer simulations indicate that there was a rare series of planetary groupings, also known as conjunctions, during the years 3 B.C. and 2 B.C.

The show started on the morning of June 12 in 3 B.C., when Venus could be sighted very close to Saturn in the eastern sky. Then there was a spectacular pairing of Venus and Jupiter on Aug. 12 in the constellation Leo, which ancient astrologers associated with the destiny of the Jews.

Between September of 3 B.C. and June of 2 B.C., Jupiter passed by the star Regulus in Leo, reversed itself and passed it again, then turned back and passed the star a third time. This was another remarkable event, since astrologers considered Jupiter the kingly planet and regarded Regulus as the “king star.”

The crowning touch came on June 17, when Jupiter seemed to approach so close to Venus that, without binoculars, they would have looked like a single star.
Odd, when I get to work, there is a program on PBS very similar to the above article. The program suggested that Astrology matches up with the Star of Bethlehem. It suggested that the Star is actually Jupiter.

There were ~three suggestions (involving two or three planets allignments) during the reign of King Hared (spelling), which is most likely the timeframe of Christ’s birth. The one suggestion to me that made the most sense with the aw effect was when the Moon “eclipsed” Jupiter. This would have been spectacular to all who witnessed it.

Another thing from the program that stuck out was they symbols for Astrology. Pisces and ~Leo came into the conversation. Apparently, the Astrological signs were originally names for Countries. I’ll find a link to the program, because it was quite interesting. I believe they even pinpointed the birth of Jesus down to ~July 17, 7BC.

DID ANYONE ELSE SEE THIS PROGRAM? :shifty:

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 06:03 AM
Spacewatch Friday - Star of Bethlehem: Going Back in Time to Examine Its Origins (http://www.space.com/spacewatch/star_bethlehem_021220.html)

At least four theories have been advanced to explain the Star from a purely astronomical viewpoint.
This is similar (from 2002), but no mention of the Moon. :think:

Eroica
2005-Dec-25, 09:02 AM
The one suggestion to me that made the most sense with the aw effect was when the Moon “eclipsed” Jupiter. This would have been spectacular to all who witnessed it.
"Occultations" of the planets by the Moon are not that rare, and hardly spectacular.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-25, 11:50 AM
"Occultations" of the planets by the Moon are not that rare, and hardly spectacular.
True ...

But After All, The Strange Groupings, The People Of The Time, Would Have Seen It As, a "Crowning" Touch, As It Were ...

Heralding The Birth, Of a KING!

:think:

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 06:30 PM
When I went to the Star Party with Superluminal, I was awed at the sky when it got dark. I've never seen the sky so clear before. I'm 39, too. I couldn't stop looking up. I'm surprised I didn't get a cramp in my neck.

The program on PBS stated that Jupiter/Moon eclipse only happens every ~785 years. This has to lead credence to this as a theory, I would think. The event was to mark the exact birth of the new Jewish King. Question I have is who was the old Jewish King? :think:

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 07:11 PM
Oh, on the PBS program, there is an Astronomer that is "obsessed" with finding the Star. I can't remember his name. Dang, I wish I could find a link to that program. I bet it plays again.

Any hoot, the Astronomer collects coins from the time of Herod. The coins clearly indicate Astrology as a norm. I'm starting to believe Astrology played a big part in the Star of Bethlehem - as the program indicated for a third/fourth theory.

All the Astrology evidence provided synchs up to what no other Astronomy evidence has, to date. I know, I'll put the "hat" on and sit in the corner.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Dec-25, 07:22 PM
When I went to the Star Party with Superluminal, I was awed at the sky when it got dark. I've never seen the sky so clear before. I'm 39, too. I couldn't stop looking up. I'm surprised I didn't get a cramp in my neck.

The program on PBS stated that Jupiter/Moon eclipse only happens every ~785 years. This has to lead credence to this as a theory, I would think. The event was to mark the exact birth of the new Jewish King. Question I have is who was the old Jewish King? :think:
Technically David ...

Jesus Was Prophesized, To Be, Of his Line, anyway ...

Herod However, Was the Ptolemy King, Who Was SUPPOSED, To Be, The Leader of Judea; Thus, he Was, Not Happy!

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 07:22 PM
"Occultations" of the planets by the Moon are not that rare, and hardly spectacular.
Oh, now I'm getting obsessed. The program stated the people of that era thought of the Planets as Stars. I'm sure this has been mentioned, but lack of sleep and food cloud my memory.

Candy
2005-Dec-25, 07:35 PM
Technically David ...

Jesus Was Prophesized, To Be, Of his Line, anyway ...

Herod However, Was the Ptolemy King, Who Was SUPPOSED, To Be, The Leader of Judea; Thus, he Was, Not Happy!
Good to know. Thank you.

The PBS program also stated that there were three Astrological/Astronomical events that happened leading up to the Jupiter/Moon Eclipse. That is what the three "Kings", not Wise Men, followed for guidance. Jupiter was in each event. The "Kings" were of different backgrounds and faiths, I believe.

I get the gut feeling it wasn't a prophesy, though. It was more like they wanted this to happen as a better direction for mankind. Any child that was lucky enough to be born during the Astrological/Astronomical event would've be the Chosen One. :shifty:

LurchGS
2005-Dec-26, 10:15 PM
isn't 'planet' abreviated from planet astra? (i.e. 'wandering star')

Lionel Murphy
2006-Dec-08, 10:33 AM
The star was a space vehicle that was glowing and hovering above where Jesus was going to be born, as Jesus was part Human part Alien, that is the only conclusion that sounds correct if you look into the bible and see what they are trying to say in those times when we were not as advanced as we are now.

jt-3d
2006-Dec-08, 10:40 AM
Right, that was my second guess.

Eroica
2006-Dec-08, 11:43 AM
It's that time of year again, I see...

Delvo
2006-Dec-08, 01:56 PM
isn't 'planet' abreviated from planet astra? (i.e. 'wandering star')Ya; they didn't know the differences in size or composition or distance between planets, stars, and galaxies, which all just looked like little points of light, but one difference they could see was that they held formation, with a few exceptions that wandered along through that formation on fixed paths instead of holding fixed positions within it.

What's always bugged me about the Star of Bethlehem story, even when I was a tiny little kid, was that things move in the sky each day with the Earth's rotation, and in order for those guys to follow a light westward, it would have needed to ALWAYS be to the West of them... which means it would have had to revolve around the Earth at something close to once per day for the duration of their journey. No explanation I've ever seen fits the parameters that the story needs, because they're always things that would slide up and down the sky on a daily basis together with everything else, thus giving travellers nothing consistent to "follow".

Maybe a comet or asteroid could happen to have a near miss and be captured in a close-to-geocentric orbit that lasts a few weeks or months before destabilizing so the object drifts away again after a few dozen times around. But that would be a pretty immense coincidence...

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-08, 02:25 PM
What's always bugged me about the Star of Bethlehem story,I think you're reading more into it than is actually there. Here's the KJV passage (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=2&verse=8&end_verse=10&version=9&context=context). That sounds more like an astrological interpretation than a geostationary satellite, to me.

aurora
2006-Dec-10, 02:04 AM
I voted other. The wise men were likely astrologers, the star they were following no doubt was just a planet moving into a certain constellation which they took as a sign.

Certainly there was no star that hung in the east all night like a UFO.

Maksutov
2006-Dec-10, 02:26 AM
A story that has no foundation in actual astronomy.

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-10, 11:50 AM
A story that has no foundation in actual astronomy.I'm dubious. Although many biblical accounts are incredible, most have been found to have a foundation in historical events.

I gotta admit, the sun standing still (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=6&chapter=10&verse=12&end_verse=14&version=9&context=context) is a tough one :)

Maksutov
2006-Dec-10, 12:02 PM
I'm dubious. Although many biblical accounts are incredible, most have been found to have a foundation in historical events.Ah, there's the problem.

Although a few have been found to have perhaps somewhat of a foundation in historical events, this one doesn't.
I gotta admit, the sun standing still (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=6&chapter=10&verse=12&end_verse=14&version=9&context=context) is a tough one :)Fer sure.

Take that and apply it to the rest.

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-10, 12:13 PM
Although a few have been found to have perhaps somewhat of a foundation in historical events, this one doesn't.There's no way we can know that. At least, I'm not aware of any evidence--as aurora mentioned, it could have been an astrological sign. Part of the problem is the indeterminacy of the dates.

My personal favorite is Uranus. :)
Fer sure.

Take that and apply it to the rest.I think only a few fringe beliefs hold a literal interpreation of a lot of the allegorical passages.

Maksutov
2006-Dec-10, 01:02 PM
There's no way we can know that. At least, I'm not aware of any evidence--as aurora mentioned, it could have been an astrological sign. Part of the problem is the indeterminacy of the dates.Thank you for making the rational case here clearer.


My personal favorite is Uranus. :)Sorry, but that's kind of ironically appropriate.


I think only a few fringe beliefs hold a literal interpration of a lot of the allegorical passages.The funny thing is, although that book is loaded with numerology and astrology, the fundie preachers continue to rail against such heathen beliefs.

Oh well, thou shall believe in dichotomy.

Meanwhile, it's a story that has no foundation in actual astronomy.

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-10, 01:13 PM
Thank you for making the rational case here clearer.OK, yw.[/url][url=I hate it when someone else tries to explain my jokes :) ] (Sorry, but that's kind of ironically appropriate.)

The funny thing is, although that book is loaded with numerology and astrology, the fundie preachers continue to rail against such heathen beliefs.Yeah, and some fundie's are totally down with it. Weird.
Meanwhile, it's a story that has no foundation in actual astronomy.I'm not convinced of that, yet.

Sticks
2006-Dec-17, 07:44 AM
The star was a space vehicle that was glowing and hovering above where Jesus was going to be born, as Jesus was part Human part Alien, that is the only conclusion that sounds correct if you look into the bible and see what they are trying to say in those times when we were not as advanced as we are now.

Are you not getting confused Chris De Burgh's hit A Spaceman came Travelling? (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/chris+de+burgh/a+spaceman+came+travelling_20030217.html) (Musical midi link to sing along with) (http://www.midipapa.de/MIDIs/MONeill/A_Spaceman_Came_Travelling_-Chris_De_Burgh.mid)


Any hue, I once heard that the unspecified number of magi, (three gifts are mentioned, not the number of people), were from outside judaism but knew of it. The spotted a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constelation of Aries the ram. This would mean that a king would be born in the house of the Jews, whose symbol is was the ram. As the Jewish people shunned astrology they would not have spotted this.

The magi set out and visit with Herod the Great (who died in 4 BCE) and Herod gets his priests to look up in the old texts, and they find from the prophet Micah (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=40&chapter=5&verse=2&version=31&context=verse) the place where he was to be born.

Thinking about how the star would fix above a particular building, (this time a house 2 years later than the actual birth), my own thoughts are, perhaps that could have been ball lightning, something we still do not fully understand today, thus more than one phenomenon, an astronomical one and an atmospheric one gets merged.

Launch window
2006-Dec-25, 03:26 PM
The Star of Bethlehem has left its mark on the gospels as well as a constellation of holiday songs. Was it purely a divine sign, created miraculously to mark Jesus’ birth? Or was it an astronomical event in its own right? John Mosley, program supervisor for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, says there are several scientific scenarios for the “Star of Wonder.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385/
shown as a newsitem but seems to be a repeat of last years article already posted by Candy

Maksutov
2006-Dec-28, 08:23 AM
The Star of Bethlehem has left its mark on the gospels as well as a constellation of holiday songs. Was it purely a divine sign, created miraculously to mark Jesus’ birth? Or was it an astronomical event in its own right? John Mosley, program supervisor for the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, says there are several scientific scenarios for the “Star of Wonder.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385/
shown as a newsitem but seems to be a repeat of last years article already posted by CandyThe planetarium and public observatory folks do such things each year in order to try to boost attendance.

When examined closely and critically, their claims have no substance.

It's just a multi-person related story that should be filed wherever "Velikovsky" is filed.

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-28, 07:25 PM
The planetarium and public observatory folks do such things each year in order to try to boost attendance.

When examined closely and critically, their claims have no substance.The claims of the planetarium? Aren't the claims just that certain conjunctions occurred in that time period?

A.DIM
2006-Dec-28, 07:35 PM
I read somehwere Christ's birth was August 21, 7BC.

I'd be interested to see the skies over Bethlehem at that time.



Aside: My name is Christopher "bearer of Christ" and I was born August 21.
:D

jt-3d
2006-Dec-28, 09:29 PM
Venus in the west, along with Mercury right above the horizon. Mars is close but not terribly close. And Neptune.

Altair and Deneb high in the east.

Fast forward to 26Feb6BC and you have Saturn, Jupiter and Mars pretty close together but not that close. They formed a sort of triangle that might have fit the bill but hardly a rare event. Too bad the Wise Men(tm) didn't have camcorders.

My opinion on the events was that they saw something - conjunction, super nova etc. that appeared every night but not all night. Also that the wise ones weren't up on their astronomy. :)

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-29, 06:06 AM
Also that the wise ones weren't up on their astronomy. :)What do you mean by that? :)

jt-3d
2006-Dec-29, 08:10 AM
Well if it was a convergence or a supernova, these guys must not have known of such things and thus not into astronomy. New to them but routine or at least known to those who follow such nightly shinanigans. If my theory is correct.

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-29, 08:30 AM
Well if it was a convergence or a supernova, these guys must not have known of such things and thus not into astronomy.Supernovas don't exactly happen often :)

I'm not sure what you mean about the convergence.

davidhw
2006-Dec-29, 11:19 AM
and sometime religious scholar, I think I can confidently say that to ask "What was the Star of Bethlehem?" misses the point of the nature of first-century biblical writing. (This is not a religious post, only one based on the best literary, social scientific, and textual criticism available in modern biblical studies. No faith claims are intended or should be inferred.)

Jesus's death can be roughly dated to 30 CE. Apart from his death, there are few facts known of his life. Gospels were not biographies in the contemporary sense of the word. Events were created for narrative and theological purposes by each one of the anonymous Gospel authors (the attribution of the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were based solely on tradition and have no bearing on authorship). There are sayings of Jesus and events that have some factual basis to them in the Gospels, but it's probably less than a third of the total narrative.

The Gospels were written mainly because the first generation of believers were dying out and the need came to solidify the tradition in writing for new generations. The birth stories in Matthew and Luke (like these two Gospels) were written between 80 and 100 CE, fifty to seventy years after Jesus's death. The authors of Matthew and Luke most likely created these birth scenarios to augment the theological role that Jesus represented to their respective church communities (each Gospel was written to a very specific community, addressing very specific problems). They have no historical basis; indeed, were they historical, they would have figured much more highly in the writings of Paul (which date roughly 40s-60s CE) -- as it stands, Paul never mentions anything about Jesus's birth. Further, the first written Gospel, Mark, which was written around 70 CE, makes no mention whatsoever of birth narratives.

So the birth stories are not factual in any sense of the word, although whether they are "true" is left up to the believer to decide for themselves. The same goes for the "Star of Bethlehem" which reflects the widespread Near Eastern tradition of linking auspicious births with signs of astrological importance making its way into authors wishing to say something about who Jesus was in genealogical, theological, and cultural context (precisely because there was no record of his life before the crucifixion).

Sticks
2006-Dec-29, 11:46 AM
(the attribution of the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were based solely on tradition and have no bearing on authorship).

The reason for the belief that Luke wrote Luke and Acts is that both Luke and Acts seem to be accounts written to a person called Theophilous. At the begining of Acts the author alludes to a previous account, the gospel tying those two books to the same authorship. In Acts the account changes from Third person to first person, that of Luke himself, which is why Luke is believed to be the author.

Also Luke is a gospel where the proposed author was not from the inner circle of Jesus. In the opening passage the author is more like either a historian or a journalist in assembling an organised account from others. The 19th century historian Sir William Ramsey set out to discredit "Luke" only to end up being a beliver due to Luke being an accurate historian


Having said all that, Luke does not mention the star :doh:

davidhw
2006-Dec-29, 12:00 PM
Also Luke is a gospel where the proposed author was not from the inner circle of Jesus. In the opening passage the author is more like either a historian or a journalist in assembling an organised account from others. The 19th century historian Sir William Ramsey set out to discredit "Luke" only to end up being a beliver due to Luke being an accurate historian


Having said all that, Luke does not mention the star :doh:


Hi Sticks.

I don't want to de-rail this off onto tangents on biblical studies, so I won't respond to these comments other than to say that my only point was that the question upon which this thread is based needs to be adequately parsed into historical and textual context before the question makes any sense. It just annoys me whenever I see so much time wasted by scientists or religious folk trying to push together separate categories of academic knowledge into one monolithic mass of confusion.

A.DIM
2006-Dec-29, 01:36 PM
Venus in the west, along with Mercury right above the horizon. Mars is close but not terribly close. And Neptune.

Altair and Deneb high in the east.

Fast forward to 26Feb6BC and you have Saturn, Jupiter and Mars pretty close together but not that close. They formed a sort of triangle that might have fit the bill but hardly a rare event. Too bad the Wise Men(tm) didn't have camcorders.

My opinion on the events was that they saw something - conjunction, super nova etc. that appeared every night but not all night. Also that the wise ones weren't up on their astronomy. :)

Ah ha, I figured there would be some likely candidates.
Thanks!

The "wise men" though, IIRC, were Chaldeans, the renowned astronomers of the ancient world.
:)

hhEb09'1
2006-Dec-29, 06:11 PM
It just annoys me whenever I see so much time wasted by scientists or religious folk trying to push together separate categories of academic knowledge into one monolithic mass of confusion.Separate categories?

To me, your logic in determining that "the birth stories are not factual in any sense of the word" is just as annoying. :) You make some pretty interesting leaps of fancy there--one writer doesn't mention something, so the other two are false?

You're right about one thing, discussions about whether or not the narratives are true or false are completely out of the scope of (and not allowed on) this board.

jt-3d
2006-Dec-29, 08:48 PM
Ah ha, I figured there would be some likely candidates.
Thanks!


All I did was hit fastforward and watched for some things to get together. Convergences are very common and if the Star was a convergence of planets, I'm affraid it'd be impossible to determine which one since the actual date is so vague.

A supernova really makes more sense. Uncommon enough to be thought of as unique but still a 'star'. Pehaps it was just the glow from the lights at the Bethlehem soccer stadium. :)

davidhw
2006-Dec-30, 06:43 AM
Separate categories?

To me, your logic in determining that "the birth stories are not factual in any sense of the word" is just as annoying. :) You make some pretty interesting leaps of fancy there--one writer doesn't mention something, so the other two are false?

You're right about one thing, discussions about whether or not the narratives are true or false are completely out of the scope of (and not allowed on) this board.


I'll just say this, without making any further arguments. Just as you need an M.D. to practice medicine, or a Ph.D. to become an astronomer, there is also a level of education and experience necessary to properly interpret and study biblical literature. It's not something an amateur can do. I'm an atheist, FWIW, and I can tell you that religious studies (as opposed to theology) is as grounded in the liberal arts and social sciences as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, or any other major area of endeavor. It's not simply a matter of opinion. There are founded interpretations guided by reason and evidence and there are unfounded ones. My analyses are not "leaps of fancy" any more than the B.A. saying that "Mercury is the first planet from the sun" or that "the speed of light is constant throughout the universe" -- they find their foundation in nearly one hundred and fifty years of serious biblical criticism and as such, are as unrelated to questions of faith and supposition as real science is unrelated to Hoagland's hyperdimensional physics.

Just wanted to get that in with all due respect to you. Not my intention to sound off, it's just that I think most members of the public don't understand that there exists a disciplined, educated approach to religion and biblical studies that requires a tremendous amount of preparation and education to practice. Within that discipline, there are convergences around basic tenets of interpretation that are pretty much not in dispute anymore within the field. The historicity of the birth narratives is one of them.

Maksutov
2006-Dec-30, 07:32 AM
I'll just say this, without making any further arguments. Just as you need an M.D. to practice medicine, or a Ph.D. to become an astronomer, there is also a level of education and experience necessary to properly interpret and study biblical literature. It's not something an amateur can do. I'm an atheist, FWIW, and I can tell you that religious studies (as opposed to theology) is as grounded in the liberal arts and social sciences as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, or any other major area of endeavor. It's not simply a matter of opinion. There are founded interpretations guided by reason and evidence and there are unfounded ones. My analyses are not "leaps of fancy" any more than the B.A. saying that "Mercury is the first planet from the sun" or that "the speed of light is constant throughout the universe" -- they find their foundation in nearly one hundred and fifty years of serious biblical criticism and as such, are as unrelated to questions of faith and supposition as real science is unrelated to Hoagland's hyperdimensional physics.

Just wanted to get that in with all due respect to you. Not my intention to sound off, it's just that I think most members of the public don't understand that there exists a disciplined, educated approach to religion and biblical studies that requires a tremendous amount of preparation and education to practice. Within that discipline, there are convergences around basic tenets of interpretation that are pretty much not in dispute anymore within the field. The historicity of the birth narratives is one of them.There exists a disciplined, educated approach to astrology that requires a tremendous amount of preparation and education to practice.

davidhw
2006-Dec-30, 08:19 AM
There exists a disciplined, educated approach to astrology that requires a tremendous amount of preparation and education to practice.

Maksutov:

That's an excellent point; however, it also helps to illustrates mine. For example, there are historians of science who approach astrology as a phenomenon to be studied within its own historical and cultural context (think here of Kepler's work), while at the same time not believing in its efficacy. So it is with the academic study of religion. It is not necessary to be a believer (I'm not) to study religion within its historical, economic, political, and textual contexts. While one could debate whether God or gods exist (and such a debate would clearly be out of bounds on this list), that is not a debate one carries on when studying religion as an academic subject like any other.

I might be wrong (and moderator, please correct me if I am), but that's why I've continued to respond to these comments, because all I'm pointing out is that (1) religiously derived textual artifacts exist that can be studied and examined like any other textual source (think of Greek or Roman sources that are similarly dispassionately examined without the scholars involved committing to the existence of Zeus or Jupiter); and (2) that conclusions can be drawn from these studies that are every bit as rigorous as conclusions drawn in the sciences.

I am going to stop there and make no further comments. I feel that there's a huge difference between the subjectivity of "intra-mural" theological argument and the objectivity of liberal arts and social-scientifically based religious studies (and I would think the latter would be acceptable on the forum, but I can totally understand if the line is seen as too close by the moderators). I just happened to wander in when I saw the "Star" thread and wanted to leave my two cents' worth based on my own professional training. That's all. Over and out. :)

Eroica
2006-Dec-30, 11:30 AM
The "wise men" though, IIRC, were Chaldeans, the renowned astronomers of the ancient world.
In Matthew's gospel they are Magi (magoi), members of a heriditary priestly caste in ancient Media. In the time of Christ they would have been Zoroastrian priests in the Parthian Empire. I don't know whether they had a reputation for accurate observation of the heavens.

I personally don't think they existed one way or the other.

Maksutov
2006-Dec-30, 11:46 AM
[edit]I personally don't think they existed one way or the other.Agreed.

But it makes for a nice story.

Plus it gives the planetariums and public observatories something to use
to boost attendance with the xian crowd toward the end of the year.

Hey, why should only the everyday merchants cash in, already?

Justicia est servo.

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

A.DIM
2006-Dec-30, 02:11 PM
In Matthew's gospel they are Magi (magoi), members of a heriditary priestly caste in ancient Media. In the time of Christ they would have been Zoroastrian priests in the Parthian Empire. I don't know whether they had a reputation for accurate observation of the heavens.

I personally don't think they existed one way or the other.

I do, but only because much of the Bible has been found to be historically accurate.

And I thought "Magi" was synonomous with "astrologer?"
To be a Magi one had to be of Babylonian descent?

trinitree88
2006-Dec-30, 08:37 PM
As there is at least one neutron star, RXJ185635-3754, at a distance of ~ 200 light-years, and as far as we know, they can only form in core collapse supernovae, there was a ver large boom in the sun's neighborhood in the past. There's also J0108-1431 at ~ 320 light years. Both are close enough to have been part of the history of the Local Bubble. Careful examination of the spectral scintillations will show whether or not they are interior to, or exterior to, the Bubble itself. Transverse velocities determined by radio astrometry may infer distances as velocities are highly correlated (coefficient of correlation 0.7.."A Survey of Southern Pulsars, Lyne,A., Harrison, et al) with their resident magnetic fields. (A Hubble observing proposal for the optical counterpart has already been made for one of them).
The present motion of the wall of the Local Bubble, determined by Alyssa Goodman (Center for Astrophysics, Harvard) is ~ 25 km/sec, a velocity conducive to producing microwaves (Eli Dwek, NASA Goddard, Greenbelt,MD.) We certainly see some microwaves.
An old supernova (> 2 Myr) visited the solar system with it's ejecta (Fe-60) found in marine sediments. This clears the Local Bubble's ISM for a more recent one to pass through with little initial velocity attenuation, thus reaching it's present dimensions more recently than expected. (Vmax=~c/10...Fillipenko, Alexei, Ap.J, following SN1987a.
Then Greenland, Antartic ice cores should indicate SN residues between 450-600 AD,if this happened...(UNH, Univ. of Colorado storage facilities)
The hot gas in the Bubble contributes significantly to the diffuse X-ray background.
The lack of galaxy cluster shadowing of the CMB in half of the nearby clusters..~15/31 surveyed, expected due to the Sunyaev-Zeldovitch effect, would then be resolvable if the emission originated closer than them.
The collapse of several civilizations around 540 AD, documented by Michael Baillie, Queens College, Dublin, in dendrochronology (tree rings), can then be seen as a climatological effect that coincide with ice core isotopic anomalies.
If a companion to the sun formed within the same gaseous nebula, and then went supernova, it would likely leave it's precursor's polarization upon it's remnant. (Stars that form from the same dust/gas cloud have matched polarizations, Steve Strom, Umass, Amherst). We would then have the odd scenario that the microwaves would leave an axis of orientation to their polarization detectors that coincides with the axial symmetry of good old sol (Max Tegmark, homepage, Google)..."the axis of evil?...WMAP. Pete

No ghosts, no goblins, no UFOs, no gypsies, no books to sell, no videos, no MP3s, no CD'-ROMs,no conservation laws broken, no new physics, no dark matter, no dark energy....but perhaps a myth not so mythical
Data from several different instrumental regimes say maybe.....:shifty:

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2007-Jan-01, 08:40 PM
and sometime religious scholar, I think I can confidently say that to ask "What was the Star of Bethlehem?" misses the point of the nature of first-century biblical writing. (This is not a religious post, only one based on the best literary, social scientific, and textual criticism available in modern biblical studies. No faith claims are intended or should be inferred.)

Jesus's death can be roughly dated to 30 CE. Apart from his death, there are few facts known of his life. Gospels were not biographies in the contemporary sense of the word. Events were created for narrative and theological purposes by each one of the anonymous Gospel authors (the attribution of the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were based solely on tradition and have no bearing on authorship). There are sayings of Jesus and events that have some factual basis to them in the Gospels, but it's probably less than a third of the total narrative.

The Gospels were written mainly because the first generation of believers were dying out and the need came to solidify the tradition in writing for new generations. The birth stories in Matthew and Luke (like these two Gospels) were written between 80 and 100 CE, fifty to seventy years after Jesus's death. The authors of Matthew and Luke most likely created these birth scenarios to augment the theological role that Jesus represented to their respective church communities (each Gospel was written to a very specific community, addressing very specific problems). They have no historical basis; indeed, were they historical, they would have figured much more highly in the writings of Paul (which date roughly 40s-60s CE) -- as it stands, Paul never mentions anything about Jesus's birth. Further, the first written Gospel, Mark, which was written around 70 CE, makes no mention whatsoever of birth narratives.

So the birth stories are not factual in any sense of the word, although whether they are "true" is left up to the believer to decide for themselves. The same goes for the "Star of Bethlehem" which reflects the widespread Near Eastern tradition of linking auspicious births with signs of astrological importance making its way into authors wishing to say something about who Jesus was in genealogical, theological, and cultural context (precisely because there was no record of his life before the crucifixion).
David, to Get Back to your Original Point ...

The Whole Start from The Ending Approach of The Gospels, Brings to Mind The RECENT Experience of The John Frum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frum) Movement ...

Would you Care to Elaborate Upon Thiis Comparison, or Do you Feel we've Come Far Too Close to The Line, As it Is?

Spacewriter
2007-Jan-01, 09:00 PM
Have any of you who make this claim about planetarium people showing the SOB shows ever actually ASKED a planetarian about the reasons? Or, just speculating to sound knowledgeable?

I think if you'd ask around, you'd find mixed feelings about the show amongst planetarium professionals. Yes, it brings in money, but I doubt you could make the charge stick that they show a substandard product just to do so. Many actually do hear the question about the "star" of Bethlehem time and again, and most shows (including one that I and my husband sell) try to make a scientific explanation in the process. Think about it: the word "star" conjures up astronomy, and for that, most folks think "planetarium" or "astronomy book."

so, before you point the finger of withering excoriation at planetarium folk about showing such shows, think about the logical reasons why they might.

And, FWIW, the story on MSNBC keeps quoting a Griffith Observatory program manager who retired last year. His book, however, is a useful tool, and I have a copy on my shelf.



Agreed.

But it makes for a nice story.

Plus it gives the planetariums and public observatories something to use
to boost attendance with the xian crowd toward the end of the year.

Hey, why should only the everyday merchants cash in, already?

Justicia est servo.

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

Maksutov
2007-Jan-02, 09:01 AM
Have any of you who make this claim about planetarium people showing the SOB shows ever actually ASKED a planetarian about the reasons?I have

The first time I asked was during a Q&A at the old Hayden Planetarium in NYC. This was 1957. I was doing the usual xmas visit to my aunt who lived just north of the MoNH off Central Park West. I got to see a new musical called "West Side Story" at the Winter Garden Theater (IIRC). It was really good.

Then I hung out at the museum all day and took in the planetarium show before heading back to her apartment. I asked why the planetarium always seemed to have such a show around xmas, and the response from the presenter was that it was appropriate to the time of year.

A few years later I attended a similar show at the University of Bridgeport planetarium (now part of The Discovery Museum (http://www.discoverymuseum.org/)). I asked the same question and got the same response.

In 1982 I brought my son to the Gengras Planetarium which was part of the Science Museum of Connecticut (now The Children's Museum). this was during the early spring and there weren't that many people there. I got into a conversation with the presenter during the show. He invited my son and I to stick around after the show so he could show us a few of the special features of the new projector.

One request I made really thrilled my son. I asked that we slowly move from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and see how the sky changed. He practically gasped as the sky shifted, and was amazed to see all the "new" constellations (by then he knew all the major northern ones).

In passing I asked the presenter about attendance, and asked how the xmas audiences had been. I specifically asked about their "Star of Bethlehem" show (now called "The Season of Light (http://www.thechildrensmuseumct.org/planetarium/plan_featured.htm)", a multicultural presentation), which it turned out packed th e house. He admitted that was one of the objectives of having such a show around xmas time.

In 1986 my son and I attended a presentation at the Hayden Planetarium the Sunday before the Challenger disaster. This turned out to be quite poignant for two reasons: we saw "The Dream Is Alive" in the new IMAX theater and we saw out last show in the old planetarium.

During that show I pointed out to the presenter that Leo was missing Regulus (that particular bulb on the old Zeiss projector had burned out). Afterwards we had a discussion similar to that I had with the Gengras presenter. The rational was the same: boost attendance while educating the audience about astronomy.
Or, just speculating to sound knowledgeable?No. See the above response.

I think if you'd ask around, you'd find mixed feelings about the show amongst planetarium professionals. I'd did, and they did.
Yes, it brings in money, but I doubt you could make the charge stick that they show a substandard product just to do so.Where did I say that the product was substandard?
Many actually do hear the question about the "star" of Bethlehem time and again, and most shows (including one that I and my husband sell) try to make a scientific explanation in the process. Think about it: the word "star" conjures up astronomy, and for that, most folks think "planetarium" or "astronomy book."Good. Best wished for success.


so, before you point the finger of withering excoriation at planetarium folk about showing such shows, think about the logical reasons why they might.Huh? Nothing wrong with keeping planetariums solvent while maintaining real science standards.


And, FWIW, the story on MSNBC keeps quoting a Griffith Observatory program manager who retired last year. His book, however, is a useful tool, and I have a copy on my shelf.

Originally Posted by Maksutov http://www.bautforum.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=893572#post893572)
Agreed.

But it makes for a nice story.

Plus it gives the planetariums and public observatories something to use
to boost attendance with the xian crowd toward the end of the year.

Hey, why should only the everyday merchants cash in, already?

Justicia est servo.

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

Maksutov
2007-Jan-02, 09:10 AM
Have any of you who make this claim about planetarium people showing the SOB shows ever actually ASKED a planetarian about the reasons?I have.

Here are a few examples.

The first time I asked was during a Q&A at the old Hayden Planetarium in NYC. This was 1957. I was making the usual xmas season visit to my aunt, who lived just north of the MoNH off Central Park West. I got to see a new musical called "West Side Story" at the Winter Garden Theater (IIRC). It was really good.

Then I hung out at the museum all day and took in the planetarium show before heading back to her apartment. I asked why the planetarium always seemed to have such a show around xmas, and the response from the presenter was that it was appropriate to the time of year.

A few years later I attended a similar show at the University of Bridgeport planetarium (now part of The Discovery Museum (http://www.discoverymuseum.org/)). I asked the same question and got the same response.

In 1983 I brought my son to the Gengras Planetarium which was part of the Science Museum of Connecticut (now The Children's Museum) in West Hartford. This was during the early spring and there weren't that many people there. I got into a conversation with the presenter during the show. He invited my son and me to stick around after the show so he could show us a few of the special features of the new projector.

One request I made really thrilled my son. I asked that we slowly move from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and see how the sky changed. He practically gasped as the sky shifted, and was amazed to see all the "new" constellations (by then he knew all the major northern ones).

In passing I asked the presenter about attendance, and asked how the xmas audiences had been. I specifically asked about their "Star of Bethlehem" show (now called "The Season of Light (http://www.thechildrensmuseumct.org/planetarium/plan_featured.htm)", a multicultural presentation), which it turned out packed the house. He admitted that was one of the objectives of having such a show around xmas time.

In 1986 my son and I attended a presentation at the Hayden Planetarium the Sunday before the Challenger disaster. This turned out to be quite poignant for two reasons: we saw "The Dream Is Alive" in the new IMAX theater and we saw our last show in the old planetarium.

During that show I pointed out to the presenter that Leo was missing Regulus (that particular bulb in the old Zeiss projector had burned out). Afterwards we had a discussion similar to that I had with the Gengras presenter. The rationale was the same: boost attendance while educating the audience about astronomy.
Or, just speculating to sound knowledgeable?No. See the above response.

I think if you'd ask around, you'd find mixed feelings about the show amongst planetarium professionals. I did, and they did.
Yes, it brings in money, but I doubt you could make the charge stick that they show a substandard product just to do so.Where did I say that the product was substandard?
Many actually do hear the question about the "star" of Bethlehem time and again, and most shows (including one that I and my husband sell) try to make a scientific explanation in the process. Think about it: the word "star" conjures up astronomy, and for that, most folks think "planetarium" or "astronomy book."Good. Best wishes for success.


so, before you point the finger of withering excoriation at planetarium folk about showing such shows, think about the logical reasons why they might.Huh? Nothing wrong with keeping planetariums solvent while maintaining real science standards.


And, FWIW, the story on MSNBC keeps quoting a Griffith Observatory program manager who retired last year. His book, however, is a useful tool, and I have a copy on my shelf.

Originally Posted by Maksutov http://www.bautforum.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=893572#post893572)
Agreed.

But it makes for a nice story.

Plus it gives the planetariums and public observatories something to use
to boost attendance with the xian crowd toward the end of the year.

Hey, why should only the everyday merchants cash in, already?

Justicia est servo.

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

Dawnofday
2008-Jan-02, 07:34 AM
Interesting. But there are a few problems with this theory. According to Matthew (and Luke), when Jesus was born Herod was still alive. Herod died in 4 BCE; the conjunction you refer to was in 1 BCE. Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. I still haven't been able to confirm that Pisces-Messiah connection

Where is the evidence that Jesus was born in Nazareth and not Bethlehem. You stated in a post recently that Josephus stated that Nazareth never even existed. And you were very adamant about Jesus being Galilean. So which is it? Was he born in Nazareth, which you stated in another post did not exist or was he Galilean as you stated, and where does it say that he was not born in Bethlehem. Honestly, I'm confused with the two different statements.:surprised

Eroica
2008-Jan-02, 08:49 AM
Where is the evidence that Jesus was born in Nazareth and not Bethlehem. You stated in a post recently that Josephus stated that Nazareth never even existed. And you were very adamant about Jesus being Galilean. So which is it? Was he born in Nazareth, which you stated in another post did not exist or was he Galilean as you stated, and where does it say that he was not born in Bethlehem. Honestly, I'm confused with the two different statements.:surprised
There's no confusion. I've simply updated my research and discovered that Nazareth probably didn't exist in Jesus's lifetime. Ergo, if he was Galilean (I still think he was), he must have been born somewhere else in Galilee.

Not being religious, I have the luxury of being allowed to change my mind when new data become available. That's one of the differences between science and religion: science is self-correcting, while religion, being carved in stone, is always wrong! :)

Dawnofday
2008-Jan-02, 09:37 AM
There's no confusion. I've simply updated my research and discovered that Nazareth probably didn't exist in Jesus's lifetime. Ergo, if he was Galilean (I still think he was), he must have been born somewhere else in Galilee.

Not being religious, I have the luxury of being allowed to change my mind when new data become available. That's one of the differences between science and religion: science is self-correcting, while religion, being carved in stone, is always wrong! :)



Nazareth probably didn't exist

Well, there now, that sure sounds like it is carved in stone!:)


while religion, being carved in stone, is always wrong!

Sounds like an opinion to me. It's odvious you have an interest in it anyway. Although like you have your opinion about that, that's just what it is an opinion. Everything is changing and evolving and not many things are set in stone. But I hope to come across more information on the subject of the Star of Bethlehem. I've read some very interesting ideas. :) It seems like you have some strong feelings about opinions. But you know I have learned a lot of science researching this topic. I read all of the information that I could find on Johannes Kepler, and many others. It's been interesting.

Neverfly
2008-Jan-02, 09:54 AM
(snip) But you know I have learned a lot of science researching this topic. I read all of the information that I could find on Johannes Kepler, and many others. It's been interesting.

This really is the most important part.

See, everyone has opinions...
An opinion is what someone believes because they like it- it appeals to them.

But opinions don't always inspire learning either. A person is happy with an opinion... Satisfied.
Our job is to learn. To seek out the truth or knowledge that helps us to grow and better understand this world and our place in it. Improving ourselves by increasing our awareness of what 'really is' instead of what 'seems to be.'

Casting aside any form of ignorance in favor of understanding helps us to develop. We form opinions during the times when we are not learning.
And we learn during the time when we ignore our opinions.

In the end, being right or being wrong really doesn't matter. I said before, 'Life is all about learning how wrong you are'. And I have spent more of my life being wrong than being right. And that is fine with me. Because in so doing, I learn. What matters is recognizing the true nature in that which surrounds us. In our history, our beliefs, ourselves.
The beauty of science is that it does just that. Correcting itself when wrong. Seeking out the true nature without clinging to wants and opinions. Where we humans (or at least those of us who are...;) ) are fallible and tend to cling to these things, science does not.
What matters is if you learn, correct and keep on steppin'.

Sticks
2008-Jan-02, 01:07 PM
There's no confusion. I've simply updated my research and discovered that Nazareth probably didn't exist in Jesus's lifetime. Ergo, if he was Galilean (I still think he was), he must have been born somewhere else in Galilee.

Not being religious, I have the luxury of being allowed to change my mind when new data become available. That's one of the differences between science and religion: science is self-correcting, while religion, being carved in stone, is always wrong! :)

The account says he was born in Bethlehem, taken to Egypt to escape Herod's massacre of the children and later when Herod had died taken by his Earthly parents to Nazereth where he grew up, hence being seen as a Galilean.

Now why do you say Nazereth did not exist?

BTW I thought we were not allowed to have these discussions, so perhaps it is time this thread was locked

Neverfly
2008-Jan-02, 01:14 PM
The account says he was born in Bethlehem, taken to Egypt to escape Herod's massacre of the children and later when Herod had died taken by his Earthly parents to Nazereth where he grew up, hence being seen as a Galilean.

Now why do you say Nazereth did not exist?
Personally, I am curious as to the answer to this question too...
Which brings me to your next statement:

BTW I thought we were not allowed to have these discussions, so perhaps it is time this thread was locked

There are two current threads on this topic now- and the topic itself is a perfectly legitimate topic. It is about Astronomy- even historical. We discuss such all the time just as we talk about Kepler or Galileo.

So far the discussion has remained civil and restricted to historical accounts and astronomy- not arguing and theology. Rule 12 applies.
Just my two bits...:whistle:

hhEb09'1
2008-Jan-02, 02:48 PM
BTW I thought we were not allowed to have these discussions, so perhaps it is time this thread was lockedAs Neverfly says, as long as we stick to the astronomical or historical aspects, there shouldn't be a problem. Even a random personal opinion, maybe, as long as we don't start arguing or disparaging or promoting those personal opinions.

KaiYeves
2008-Jan-02, 09:40 PM
I don't really know. Perhaps a conjunction, but I am not sure. It was NOT a comet, because that would have been seen as a sign of the death of a king. The writer of the otherwise excellent carol "Do You See What I See?" did not know this, as you can tell:
"A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite."

laurele
2008-Jan-03, 05:19 AM
I don't really know. Perhaps a conjunction, but I am not sure. It was NOT a comet, because that would have been seen as a sign of the death of a king. The writer of the otherwise excellent carol "Do You See What I See?" did not know this, as you can tell:
"A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite."

I and several of my friends call that carol "The Comet Song." When I was in college, my roommate and friend was an agnostic and a biology major very into science. She was very studious and had requested a dorm room on a "quiet floor." We ended up in a wing full of religious fundamentalists who wanted to get away from the all night party types. Naturally, they kept trying to "save" us, and we heard them always listening to radio shows about heaven and hell. One day during the holiday season, someone was playing that song, and when my roommate heard it--apparently for the first time--she started jumping up and down excitedly, saying, "A star with a tail--that's a comet!" I knew that Halley's Comet had made a close approach in 11 BCE and mentioned that. Ever since then, while I love the music, I can't think of that song without laughing.

Sticks
2014-Dec-19, 10:55 AM
Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but I purchased a copy of the UK version of the War Cry today for 20 December 2014, (unfortunately it is not online yet)

This is a newspaper sold by the Salvation Army, so usually is of a religious nature.

In the issue I purchased today it had an article by Sir Colin Humphreys, professor of materials science at Cambridge University about this topic. He puts the theory it was a long tailed comet and that the Chinese recorded one in 5BCE He also suggests that the magi could have been Babylonian who would have read Jewish writings, from the Babylonian captivities which may have had messianic prophecies. The prior triple conjunctions of Jupiter Saturn and Earth, around the same time frame would have been of certain symbolic significance.

So if I read this article correctly, there was not one star, but a number of astronomical phenomena which was interpreted in a certain way.

It seemed a very plausible explanation of the Matthew account. As soon as it comes online, unless there are objections I may post a link to the article so others can critique this one. If we treat this gospel as merely an ancient text, the writer could have recorded an actual astronomical event and included it in his writings, making this an example of Archeo-Astronomy

swampyankee
2014-Dec-19, 08:20 PM
Do we know of any good candidates that were visible during that time period?

A problem with that is that neither the month nor year of His birth is known. It is generally believed that it was not December --for a long time, a Christmas mass was celebrated every month -- and several years BCE.

So,we're speculating on a star that may or may not have existed on some date that's not known. The magi (the number of whom is not known) may also have been following a star in a less than literal manner: some celestial event may have been interpreted to mean "Messiah born in Bethlehem," as opposed to it being the celestial equivalent of a Motel 6's illuminated sign.

Sticks
2014-Dec-20, 10:01 AM
As promised a link to (http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/article3) that article on the UK Salvation Army website

As I said earlier when I read the article, it seemed fairly plausible, so let us know if there are any obvious errors in this hypothesis.

It has been postulated by Professor Allen Chapman, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society that astronomy was born out of a desire in ancient times, to use the night sky to work out when to hold various religious ceremonies as well as when to plant crops / go hunting, so does it sound so far fetched that an unfamiliar observation in the night sky of something we all know about today, e.g an appearance of a comet, could be interpreted as a portent, like the birth of a new ruler? Also is it so far fetched that an observation in the night sky of something unfamiliar, could have been recorded in an ancient text, written by someone piecing together events from several years previously?

grapes
2016-Oct-26, 05:17 PM
As promised a link to (http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/article3) that article on the UK Salvation Army website

The link doesn't seem to work, and I wasn't able to find any of the material on that website. However, I did find a copy of another article by Colin Humphreys from twenty years ago (1995), about the same:

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Astronomy-Cosmology/S&CB%2010-93Humphreys.html

Nowhere Man
2016-Oct-27, 10:45 AM
The link doesn't seem to work, and I wasn't able to find any of the material on that website.

Perhaps because it's two years old?

Fred