Astronomía

¿La conjunción entre Venus, Júpiter y Regulus solo ha ocurrido dos veces en 2000 años?

¿La conjunción entre Venus, Júpiter y Regulus solo ha ocurrido dos veces en 2000 años?


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Recientemente escuché la afirmación de que a mediados de julio, la "Estrella de Belén" se formó por primera vez en 2000 años, donde la Estrella de Belén es una conjunción de tres vías entre Venus, Júpiter y Regulus. La página de Wikipedia que acabo de vincular menciona una de esas conjunciones que ocurrió en el año 2 a. C., y otras fuentes (como EarthSky) mencionan la conjunción que ocurrió el mes pasado, en 2015 d. C. ¿Nunca ocurrió esta conjunción de tres vías en los años 2016 intermedios?

(Para el propósito de esta pregunta, diré que cuenta como una conjunción cuando cada par de cuerpos está separado por no más de 10 grados, como sugiere este hilo del foro de CosmoQuest sobre el tema).


La conjunción 2 BCE tenía Regulus, Júpiter y Venus dentro de 5.346 grados, y el Sol estaba a 19.371 grados de distancia.

La conjunción de 2015 tenía los tres dentro de los 5.488 grados, con el Sol a 30.930 grados de distancia.

Hay 81 conjunciones entre esas dos fechas en las que Regulus, Júpiter y Venus están separados por menos de 5.488 grados, aunque, en algunos casos, el Sol estaría demasiado cerca para ver estas conjunciones.

Enumero todas estas conjunciones a continuación, y también incluyo conjunciones desde 999 a. C. y hasta 2999 d. C.

Las dos primeras columnas son la fecha y la hora.

La tercera columna es la máxima separación por pares (en grados) de Regulus, Júpiter y Venus.

La cuarta columna es la distancia angular más pequeña del Sol (en grados) de las tres.

Notas adicionales siguen la lista:

-998-08-13 17:47:22 4.460 17.341 -986-06-14 19:33:17 5.078 31.064 -962-06-13 20:42:13 1.599 37.154 -939-08-24 16:05:37 0.960 32.337 -903-06-23 23:23:31 4.166 23.499 -879-06-22 18:41:22 2.388 28.906 -856-09-02 02:38:31 0.900 40.426 -820-07-03 18:56 : 04 3.059 15.483 -796-07-02 11:36:42 3.326 19.880 -773-09-09 05:10:53 2.068 46.122 -737-07-14 22:02:17 1.914 7.202 -713-07-13 13 : 16: 57 4.432 10.473 -654-07-25 04:03:45 0.919 0.676 -618-06-16 16:24:53 2.111 36.170 -571-08-04 08:00:55 0.890 9.482 -535-06- 08 09:43:32 1.519 43.497 -512-08-15 20:18:35 4.304 21.310 -488-08-14 11:02:13 2.216 17.658 -452-06-14 20:40:52 1.507 38.039 -429- 08-26 12:36:08 3.022 30.516 -405-08-25 05:36:22 3.500 25.655 -369-06-24 14:26:28 1.383 30.683 -346-09-04 07:24:03 2.055 38.915 - 322-09-03 07:20:58 4.678 33.128 -310-07-05 12:23:59 4.755 15.643 -286-07-04 05:57:12 1.723 21.719 -263-09-10 01:35:27 1.743 44.339 -239-09-10 16:58:48 5.467 39.382 -227-07-15 14:17:13 3.299 7.717 -203-07-14 05:55:31 3.137 12.390 -156-09-12 06: 11:05 5.008 41.107 -144-07-25 20:01:44 1.779 0.850 -132-06-30 22:00:27 4.887 21.625 -120-07-24 10:48:43 4.594 2.846 -61-08-06 01:53:32 0.781 8.312 -25-06-11 09:01:53 2.012 43.414 -2-08-17 13:43:06 5.346 19.371 (conjunción en 2 BCE) -1-06-11 09:00:23 4.978 45.464 22-08-16 03:46:55 1.066 16.885 58-06-16 21:31:59 1.924 38.499 81-08-27 08:28:28 4.344 28.668 82-06-16 01:28:35 4.809 41.268 105-08-26 00:47:42 2.203 25.078 141-06-25 09:01:41 1.347 31.319 164-09-05 10:04:04 3.548 37.319 165-06-24 06:31:05 5.379 33.701 188- 09-04 07:11:50 3.049 33.055 224-07-04 23:17:54 1.226 23.421 247-09-13 15:10:43 3.233 44.173 271-09-13 05:17:58 3.587 40.061 283-07- 17 06:44:26 5.353 7.568 307-07-15 23:33:14 1.106 14.268 330-09-10 21:05:11 4.715 41.177 354-09-17 08:06:60 3.418 44.034 366-07-27 11 : 51: 60 3.985 0.992 390-07-26 03:05:29 2.339 4.782 449-08-06 18:09:31 2.584 6.358 473-08-05 08:52:09 3.774 1.408 485-06-13 23:13 : 34 3.793 41.669 509-06-14 10:03:10 3.248 45.079 532-08-16 22:56:25 1.136 15.985 556-08-15 13:18:21 5.306 9.232 568-06-18 04:59:43 3.729 37.949 592-06-17 10:00:36 3.097 42.534 615-08-27 17:07:18 0.513 24.909 651-06-27 07: 39:52 2.799 31.415 674-09-07 10:08:57 5.021 35.627 675-06-26 05:23:47 3.875 35.349 698-09-06 05:27:18 1.613 32.746 734-07-06 15:41: 56 1.585 24.008 757-09-15 06:00:16 4.344 43.078 758-07-05 10:40:10 4.927 26.804 781-09-14 13:11:04 2.606 39.663 817-07-16 15:15:47 1.096 16.042 840-09-17 11:49:26 4.635 45.023 864-09-19 23:02:46 2.770 44.576 876-07-28 03:47:10 5.109 0.757 900-07-26 19:38:38 1.354 6.699 959 -08-08 09:59:38 3.685 4.399 983-08-07 01:00:51 2.596 0.922 995-06-18 07:09:17 4.556 40.276 1019-06-19 20:30:29 2.698 43.446 1042-08 -18 14:56:17 2.469 14.017 1066-08-17 05:54:20 3.837 8.756 1078-06-20 14:43:27 5.059 37.822 1102-06-19 21:49:33 1.707 43.667 1125-08-28 15:18:36 1.383 23.486 1149-08-27 06:37:45 4.987 17.075 1161-06-28 07:08:46 4.549 31.267 1185-06-27 05:43:18 2.039 36.937 1208-09-07 05: 59:08 0.502 32.528 1244-07-07 11:31:14 3.647 23.669 1268-07-06 0 6:22:18 2.826 28.583 1291-09-17 00:48:31 0.553 40.580 1327-07-18 07:04:40 2.460 15.742 1351-07-17 00:10:09 3.975 19.529 1374-09-23 07: 58:08 1.568 46.055 1410-07-28 09:20:39 1.073 7.770 1434-07-27 02:11:36 5.317 10.122 1493-08-07 16:51:42 0.882 0.938 1529-06-29 06:47: 15 2.990 37.035 1552-08-19 07:13:29 4.307 12.057 1576-08-17 22:28:03 2.198 8.457 1612-07-01 16:15:13 0.936 44.541 1635-09-09 08:38:22 2.760 21.568 1659-09-08 00:14:25 3.635 16.511 1695-07-09 07:11:03 1.123 38.488 1718-09-20 00:58:55 1.552 30.735 1742-09-18 17:58:01 4.959 24.413 1754 -07-20 07:11:04 4.686 24.403 1778-07-19 02:46:21 1.812 30.338 1801-09-29 19:39:12 0.682 39.105 1837-07-31 00:36:14 3.503 16.558 1861-07 -29 17:54:30 2.897 21.392 1884-10-06 07:55:46 1.204 45.253 1920-08-11 02:21:34 2.259 8.435 1944-08-09 18:40:08 4.058 12.042 2003-08-22 07:15:20 1.041 0.825 2015-07-16 11:48:33 5.488 30.930 (conjunción en 2015 CE) 2027-08-20 23:44:27 5.261 2.523 2086-09-01 14:32:37 0.790 8.374 2122 -07-08 16:51:26 1.516 43.744 2145 -09-14 01:53:17 4.836 19.637 2146-07-08 12:23:30 5.417 45.470 2169-09-12 17:38:23 1.559 16.679 2205-07-15 09:10:00 1.372 38.734 2228-09 -24 20:25:03 3.776 28.900 2229-07-14 10:39:27 5.357 41.055 2252-09-23 13:21:48 2.792 24.725 2288-07-23 23:00:59 1.054 31.616 2311-10-05 21:49:18 2.753 37.499 2335-10-04 18:19:54 3.841 32.416 2371-08-04 11:28:25 1.029 23.258 2394-10-13 02:17:26 2.210 44.307 2418-10-12 12: 48:16 4.632 38.993 2430-08-15 18:58:06 4.175 8.408 2454-08-14 11:37:59 2.188 13.939 2477-10-10 03:40:59 3.897 41.142 2501-10-16 12:47: 51 4.549 41.762 2513-08-26 23:54:34 2.667 0.875 2537-08-25 15:50:58 3.690 4.447 2596-09-06 05:26:08 1.151 6.635 2620-09-05 21:40:43 5.240 0.897 2632-07-15 02:33:17 2.386 43.108 2656-07-15 11:20:55 4.650 45.236 2679-09-18 10:25:21 0.705 15.875 2715-07-21 15:26:25 2.319 39.102 2738 -09-30 15:29:27 4.810 27.036 2739-07-20 18:15:52 4.425 42.356 2762-09-29 08:12:17 1.644 24.014 2798-07-29 19:09:49 1.599 32.315 2821-10 -09 21:38:10 3.932 35.818 2822-07-28 16:03:44 4.946 35.075 2845-10-08 17:02:38 2.697 31.836 2881-08-08 05:45:37 0.984 24.514 2904-10-18 16:53:19 3.435 43.217 2928-10-17 21:25:11 3.325 38.965 2964-08-19 03:36:41 0.956 15.872 2987-10-21 20:20:21 4.041 45.058

Notas:

  • Puede (y debe) comparar estos números con una fuente confiable, como Stellarium o HORIZONS (http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons)

  • Estos números son imperfectos por varias razones:

    • Como la mayoría de los programas de planetario, descuido el tiempo de viaje de la luz (Stellarium descuida el tiempo de viaje de la luz de forma predeterminada, pero puedes cambiar esto en la configuración). Este es probablemente el error más grande en los números anteriores.

    • La NASA resuelve ecuaciones diferenciales a partir de constantes conocidas para publicar posiciones planetarias. Las constantes no son necesariamente precisas (se actualizan ocasionalmente) y la NASA solo publica aproximaciones a las soluciones de ecuaciones diferenciales. Las aproximaciones suelen ser buenas en unos pocos metros, pero si las constantes fueran / son drásticamente diferentes en el pasado / futuro (y / o son erróneas), estos resultados no se aplicarían.

  • Mi metodología:

    • Usé los núcleos SPICE (http://naif.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/naif/toolkit_docs/C/req/kernel.html) para encontrar las posiciones de Júpiter y Venus (en el marco ICRF J2000) diariamente desde 999 A. C. hasta 2999 d. C.

    • Supuse que la posición de Regulus era constante en el marco ICRF J2000. Dado que ICRF J2000 es un marco sin precesión, esto es esencialmente preciso, pero descuida el pequeño movimiento propio de Regulus.

    • Calculé la separación angular máxima diaria entre Júpiter, Venus y Regulus.

    • Encontré mínimos locales entre las separaciones diarias y utilicé el método ternario para encontrar el instante del mínimo local real.

    • Miré las separaciones para 2 a. C. y 2015 CE, y filtré los resultados para mostrar solo las conjunciones con separaciones menores que el máximo de estas dos separaciones.

    • Calculé la posición del Sol en la lista filtrada e incluí la separación entre el Sol y el más cercano de Júpiter, Regulus y Venus.

    • Hice la mayor parte del trabajo en Mathematica, pero usé el programa j2d de Unix para convertir fechas julianas en fechas de calendario, porque Mathematica usa el calendario gregoriano proléptico, que la mayoría de la gente no usa.

    • Puede ver lo que hice (en forma extremadamente desordenada) en:

https://github.com/barrycarter/bcapps/tree/master/ASTRO

  • Quería presentar los resultados en una tabla HTML ordenable, pero stackexchange no permite tablas de ningún tipo.

  • Aquí hay capturas de pantalla de Stellarium de algunas de estas conjunciones. Regulus es la estrella azul claro, Venus es de color amarillo brillante y Júpiter es el que tiene las lunas. El objeto que he seleccionado (si lo hay) no es necesariamente relevante para la conjunción.


Aunque mi computadora todavía está procesando los números (y posteriormente ralentizando todo lo demás ...) puedo decirles que la respuesta es no. Ya estamos en el 1700 (a partir del 2 a. C.) y ya he visto múltiples conjunciones en una proximidad bastante decente de las tres. Establecí el máximo en 5 grados. Estoy usando una forma modificada de este script de Python. http://shallowsky.com/blog/science/astro/predicting-conjunctions.html

Ok, el guión ha terminado. No lo tengo bien filtrado a SOLO las conjunciones de los tres, así que tengo más de 3000 líneas de resultados. Sin embargo, puedo copiar algunas instancias muy rápido.

La conjunción de Venus, Júpiter y Regulus dura desde 2015/6/23 hasta 2015/8/4. Venus y Júpiter están más cerca el 2015/7/2 (0,4 grados). Venus y Regulus están más cerca el 2016/7/16 (2,4 grados). Júpiter y Regulus están más cerca el 4 de agosto de 2015 (1,8 grados). La conjunción de Venus, Regulus y Júpiter dura desde 1885/7/25 hasta 1885/8/11. Venus y Regulus están más cerca en 1885/7/29 (1,1 grados). Venus y Júpiter están más cercanos en 1885/8/7 (0,4 grados). La conjunción de Júpiter, Regulus y Venus dura desde 1861/6/19 hasta 1861/8/6. Júpiter y Regulus están más cerca en 1861/7/16 (0,5 grados). Regulus y Venus están más cerca el 1861/7/30 (1,1 grados). Júpiter y Venus son los más cercanos el 1861/8/2 (0,6 grados). La conjunción de Venus, Júpiter y Regulus dura desde 1837/7/24 hasta 1837/8/3. Venus y Júpiter están más cercanos en 1837/7/28 (0,7 grados). Venus y Regulus están más cerca el 1837/7/31 (1,2 grados). Júpiter y Regulus están más cerca el 1837/7/31 (3,6 grados). La conjunción de Venus, Regulus y Júpiter dura desde 1802/7/16 hasta 1802/8/1. Venus y Regulus están más cerca el 1802/7/19 (1,1 grados). Venus y Júpiter están más cercanos en 1802/7/27 (0,5 grados). La conjunción de Júpiter, Regulus y Venus dura desde 1778/6/12 hasta 1778/8/2. Júpiter y Regulus están más cerca el 1778/7/11 (0,5 grados). Regulus y Venus están más cerca el 1778/7/19 (1,2 grados). Júpiter y Venus están más cercanos en 1778/7/21 (0,6 grados). La conjunción de Venus, Júpiter y Regulus dura desde 1754/7/12 hasta 1754/7/31. Venus y Júpiter están más cercanos en 1754/7/16 (0,8 grados). Venus y Regulus están más cerca en 1754/7/21 (1,2 grados). Júpiter y Regulus son los más cercanos en 1754/7/31 (2,5 grados).

Probablemente debería verificar estos hallazgos con un programa como Stellerium. Tenga en cuenta que configuré el punto de vista para que esté en el medio oriente. Aproximadamente donde solía estar Persia.


Júpiter y Venus convergerán en el momento de la Estrella de Belén

A partir del martes, Júpiter y Venus estarán tan cerca en el cielo nocturno que podrías cubrirlos a ambos con la punta de un dedo extendido.

Los dos planetas estarán separados por solo un tercio de grado como se ve desde América del Norte.

"A la vista se verán como una estrella doble", dijo Kelly Beatty, editora senior de la revista Sky & amp Telescope. "Cualquiera que no haya mirado el cielo de la tarde por un tiempo se sorprenderá de lo dramáticamente apretado que es la pareja".

Serán fáciles de detectar como los objetos más brillantes del cielo, después del sol y la luna. Venus, que aparece como una media luna, será incluso más brillante que su vecino. No muy lejos de su esquina superior izquierda, que parece mucho más débil, está Regulus, la estrella alfa en la constelación de Leo.

No permanecerán a más de 2 grados de distancia, el ancho de un pulgar a la distancia del brazo, hasta el 4 de julio.

Llamada conjunción, esta convergencia celestial es más común de lo que piensas.

Aparecieron un poco más juntos antes del amanecer del 18 de agosto de 2014, y estarán separados aproximadamente 1 grado antes del amanecer de la mañana del 26 de octubre. Durante una notable conjunción el 17 de mayo de 2000, Venus y Júpiter estaban separados por solo 0.01 grados, pero demasiado cerca del sol para ser vistos. El próximo año, el 27 de agosto, volverán a deslumbrar durante una conjunción nocturna con una separación de solo 0,1 grados.

A principios de junio, los dos planetas estaban separados por 20 grados en el cielo, aproximadamente el doble del ancho de tu puño con el brazo extendido. Semana tras semana, Júpiter y las estrellas detrás de él se han deslizado gradualmente hacia abajo en el crepúsculo vespertino. Pero Venus, debido a su rápido movimiento orbital alrededor del sol, se ha mantenido en lo alto. La convergencia resultante en cámara lenta los separó 6 grados la semana pasada, preparando el escenario para la impresionante exhibición del martes.

Aunque los dos planetas aparecen muy cerca uno del otro en el cielo, en realidad no lo están. Venus está a 58 millones de millas de la Tierra y Júpiter está 12 veces más lejos a 565 millones de millas. La distancia explica por qué los dos planetas se verán aproximadamente del mismo tamaño a pesar de que Júpiter es mucho más grande.


Tránsito Venus Conjunción Júpiter

Venus en conjunción con el tránsito de Júpiter presagia amor y dinero, armonía y felicidad. No tienes que esforzarte, luchar o trabajar duro. Este es un momento para disfrutar de los beneficios del buen karma acumulado por sus buenas obras y su arduo trabajo anteriores. Las cosas hermosas se sienten atraídas por ti.

Es su armonía interior, calidez y amabilidad lo que es tan atractivo. Idealmente, este tiempo se debe gastar fuera de casa, interactuando con tantas personas como sea posible. De esta forma, te expondrás al mayor número de oportunidades de crecimiento y felicidad.

Las relaciones de todo tipo son un foco importante de esta conjunción. Tu mayor belleza física e interior te hace más popular en entornos sociales. En situaciones uno a uno deberías notar más interés, especialmente de tu pareja o socios potenciales. Este es uno de los mejores tránsitos para enamorarse. Es más probable ahora que cualquier nuevo romance resulte ser la pareja perfecta.

Debe aprovechar cualquier oferta financiera, ya que existe una mayor probabilidad de aumentar su riqueza. Las inversiones deben generar ganancias, especialmente en obras de arte, joyas y otros artículos de lujo. Este es un tránsito muy afortunado, por lo que incluso puede ser el beneficiario de una ganancia inesperada y repentina.

Venus Conjunción Júpiter Celebridades

Jennifer Jason Leigh 01 y # 8242, Tom Waits 06 y # 8242, Julie Newmar 07 y # 8242, Kenneth Williams 10 y # 8242, Henry Winkler 13 y # 8242, Michael Hutchence 18 y # 8242, Eric Burdon 0 ° 48 y # 8242, John Belushi 53 y # 8242 , Roman Polanski 0 ° 58 ′, Barry Gibb 59 y # 8242, Steven Spielberg 1 ° 17 y # 8242, Herbert Hoover 1 ° 17 y # 8242, Guy de Maupassant 1 ° 27 y # 8242, Uri Geller 1 ° 31 y # 8242, Charles Baudelaire 1 ° 33 & # 8242, Sir George Wilkins 1 ° 37 & # 8242, Ritchie Valens 1 ° 38, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve 1 ° 39 & # 8242, Jeff Bridges 1 ° 40 ′, Liz Greene 1 ° 45 ′, Eddie Izzard 1 ° 53 & # 8242, Carl Wilson 1 ° 59 y # 8242.

Venus Conjunción Júpiter Fechas


¿FUE LA ESTRELLA DE BELÉN UNA CONJUNCIÓN DE PLANETAS?

La estrella de Belén que marcó el nacimiento de Jesucristo puede no haber sido el simple faro descrito en versos, canciones, historias y escrituras durante casi 2,000 años.

El profesor de astronomía de la Universidad Brigham Young, Jay Moody, dice que la "estrella" era probablemente una triple conjunción de planetas que pocas personas vieron y aún menos entendieron. "Sospechamos que la estrella de Navidad es algo sutil y no es este punto de luz resplandeciente. que todo el mundo había visto ", dijo Moody. "Quizás sólo los sabios lo vieron porque estaban educados y sabían qué buscar".

Basándose en la Biblia, el Libro de Mormón, registros históricos y astronómicos, Moody describe lo que pudo haber sucedido.

Las Escrituras registran que había "pastores en el campo" en el momento del nacimiento de Cristo. Los pastores iban a los campos solo durante la temporada de parición de primavera, dijo Moody.

"No nació en diciembre. Esa es una fiesta pagana que los cristianos adoptaron para no ser tan obvios acerca de cuándo observarían el nacimiento de Cristo. En aquellos días, a veces era peligroso ser cristiano".

En los relatos de las Escrituras, los pastores no mencionan la aparición de una nueva estrella en el cielo. A diferencia de los sabios, los pastores no estaban familiarizados con la astrología y es posible que no supieran cómo interpretar un signo celestial.

Una caravana que incluía a hombres sabios "probablemente salió de Medea y Persia, que hoy son Irak e Irán", dijo Moody. "Ese fue una especie de semillero de la astrología, donde se originó. Ellos entendían el cielo y podrían estar bien versados ​​en la alineación de los planetas".

La "estrella" fue probablemente una conjunción de los planetas Júpiter y Saturno, que ocurrió en mayo, octubre y diciembre del 7 a. C., dijo el astrónomo de BYU Kimball Hansen. En el 6 de febrero a. C. un tercer planeta, Marte, pasó a formar parte del grupo. Según muchos eruditos, el nacimiento de Cristo ocurrió en abril del 6 a. C.

Júpiter es la estrella del rey de Judea, y se creía que Saturno protegía a la gente del Mediterráneo oriental, dijo Moody.

"Los medianos y persas habrían sido razonablemente supersticiosos e interpretaron la alineación en el sentido de que algo bueno iba a suceder con un rey en la nación judía", dijo Moody. "Eso es algo sutil, algo que los sabios captarían pero no los pastores".

La alineación de los planetas, que ocurre cada 120 años, encaja con otra información bíblica e histórica utilizada para señalar el nacimiento de Cristo. Cuando los magos le cuentan al rey Herodes sobre la estrella, el rey finge estar complacido y pregunta cuándo apareció la estrella.

Los magos dicen que la estrella ya no es visible, lo que indica que apareció hace algún tiempo y que habían estado viajando por un tiempo.

"No sabemos qué le dijeron los sabios a Herodes, pero dijeron algo porque cuando él obtuvo la información, salió y mandó matar a todos los niños de dos años o menos", dijo Moody.

Además, hubo un decreto / censo de impuestos en el año 8 a. C. No había servicio postal ni comunicación en los medios de comunicación en esos tiempos, se necesitaron un par de años para correr la voz y luego algo de tiempo para que la gente viajara a sus lugares de origen apropiados.

Los eruditos también usan la muerte del rey Herodes en el 4 a. C. como herramienta para medir el nacimiento.

Sin embargo, existen otras teorías además de la descrita por Moody.

Según John P. Pratt, un astrónomo de Orem que investiga la cronología y los calendarios antiguos de Ashton Research Corp., la estrella descrita por los sabios puede haber significado la concepción de Cristo.

En un artículo publicado en "The Planetarian", Pratt propone que los magos rastrearon la alineación de Júpiter y Venus cerca de la estrella Regulus en la constelación de Leo el 17 de junio del 2 a. C. Los dos planetas estaban tan cerca que parecían uno solo, dijo Pratt.

"Es difícil saber cómo los magos podrían haber leído los signos en los cielos, pero se ha observado que Júpiter / Zeus era el dios padre y a menudo se asociaba con el nacimiento de reyes, que Venus era la madre o diosa de la fertilidad y que Leo, con la brillante estrella-rey Regulus, era la constelación del 'rey' asociada con Judá y la realeza ", dijo Pratt. "Esta combinación parece ser natural para ser interpretada como la venida del rey de los judíos".

Pratt establece el nacimiento de Cristo en la Pascua del 6 al 8 de abril de 1 a. C. y la muerte de Herodes en 1 d.C.

Esa estrella brillante en el oeste justo después de la puesta del sol no es la Estrella de Belén, dice Patrick Wiggins en el Planetario Hansen. En realidad, es el planeta Venus. La "estrella" a la derecha de Venus es el planeta Saturno.


¿Qué era la estrella de Belén?

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - ¿Qué era exactamente la Estrella de Belén?
En los más de 2000 años desde el nacimiento de Jesús, ha habido todo tipo de teorías sobre qué tipo de fenómeno pudo haber sido, como una estrella, una alineación de planetas o un cometa.

La Universidad de Samford organizará un programa sobre la Estrella de Belén esta noche a las 8 en el Planetario Christenberry de 94 asientos. Es gratis y está abierto al público.
El programa también se llevará a cabo los viernes y sábados a las 8 p.m. y el domingo 7 de diciembre a las 4 p.m.

"Vamos a echar un vistazo a la evidencia astronómica, histórica y bíblica que respalda esas teorías", dijo David Weigel, director del Planetario Christenberry de la Universidad de Samford.
& quot; Realmente no podemos & # x27t saber, basándonos en las pruebas que tenemos. Ciertamente, hay muchas teorías con las que podemos jugar.

La fecha del nacimiento de Jesús no se conoce con precisión, lo que complica las teorías. "Tan pronto como asumas el nacimiento de Cristo, realmente no puedes asumir ninguna fecha específica y estar seguro", dijo Weigel.

Weigel dirigirá la discusión y presentará una vista nocturna de cómo se veía el cielo en el momento del nacimiento de Jesús. No hay una respuesta definitiva, dijo.
"Al final del día, es un evento sobrenatural", dijo Weigel.

Los astrónomos han teorizado que la estrella de Bethelehem podría haber sido conjunciones de Venus y Júpiter durante el 3 a. C. y 2 a.C. , o Júpiter junto con Regulus, la estrella más brillante de la constelación de Leo, en septiembre del 3 a. C.

El único relato del Nuevo Testamento sobre la Estrella de Belén se encuentra en el Evangelio de Mateo, donde los magos llegan a Jerusalén durante el reinado de Herodes el Grande, preguntando por un rey recién nacido de los judíos, habiendo visto `` el surgimiento de su estrella ''.
En un artículo de 1991 en la revista The Planetarian, William Bidelman, ex presidente del departamento de astronomía de la Universidad Case Western Reserve, presentó dos conjunciones de Venus y Júpiter en el 3 a. C. y 2 a.C. como la estrella navideña más plausible.
En la revista Omni de octubre de 1991, el astrónomo Fred Schaff también señaló la rara serie de conjunciones de Venus y Júpiter el 12 de agosto del 3 a. C. y el 17 de junio, el 20 de agosto y el 14 de octubre en el año 2 a. C.

Un astrofísico de Notre Dame señala una demostración generada por computadora del cielo nocturno del 17 de abril del 6 a. C. en el Teatro de Visualización Digital de la Universidad de Notre Dame en South Bend, Indiana, en 2007. (AP Photo / Joe Raymond)

A pesar del impulso para la alineación de los planetas en 2 y 3 a. C. Como explicación natural de la Estrella de Belén, la mayoría de los historiadores se resisten a fechar la muerte de Herodes tan tarde.
"Todo está realmente relacionado con el momento de la muerte de Herodes", que se fecha en el año 4 a. C., dijo Bidelman. "Si Herodes murió en el 4 a. C., entonces Cristo debe haber nacido en algún momento antes. Varias personas han concluido en los últimos años que no murió durante varios años más.
Ernest Martin, en su libro de 1991 "La estrella que asombró al mundo", defendió la fecha posterior de la muerte de Herodes.
Craig Chester, presidente del Instituto de Investigación en Astronomía de Monterey, también argumentó en la edición de diciembre de 1993 de la revista Imprimis que Herodes murió en 1 a. C.
Chester señaló que el año 2 a. C. marcó el 25 aniversario del gobierno de César Augusto y el 750 aniversario de la fundación de Roma y se planeó una inscripción o censo.
El Evangelio de Lucas describe un censo que llevó a José y María a viajar de Nazaret a Belén.
"Esta inscripción, descrita en el Evangelio de Lucas, que llevó a José y María a Belén, siempre ha sido un misterio, ya que no se realizó un censo regular de impuestos en este momento", escribió Chester.
Pero la inscripción asociada con honrar a César Augusto encaja perfectamente, dijo.
Chester dijo que en septiembre del 3 a. C., Júpiter entró en conjunción con Regulus, la estrella de la realeza, la estrella más brillante de la constelación de Leo. Leo era la constelación de reyes y estaba asociado con el León de Judá. Entonces, el planeta real se acercó a la estrella real en la constelación real que representa a Israel, el tipo de símbolo astrológico que despertaría el interés de los magos.
Justo el mes anterior, Júpiter y Venus casi parecían tocarse. La conjunción entre Júpiter y Regulus se repitió dos veces en febrero y mayo del 2 a. C. Luego, en junio, Júpiter y Venus, los dos planetas más brillantes, parecieron tocarse a simple vista y se convirtieron en un solo objeto sobre el sol poniente.
"Los magos no podían haberse perdido este espectáculo excepcionalmente raro", escribió Chester. Sin embargo, aquellos que no estaban en sintonía con el movimiento de los planetas y su importancia simbólica percibida no se habrían dado cuenta. Herodes se sorprendió cuando los magos se le acercaron, dice la Biblia. Les ordenó que regresaran a él con noticias después de que encontraran al rey que buscaban.
Después de que los magos no regresaran a él con noticias, Herodes ordenó la muerte de niños menores de 2 años en Belén, lo que muchos interpretan como que los magos tardaron dos años en encontrar a Jesús.
Pero eso no significa que Jesús todavía vivía en Belén cuando tenía 2 años, o que los magos estaban visitando a un niño pequeño en lugar de a un recién nacido.
"La mayoría de las veces, no se estaba arriesgando", dijo Bidelman sobre Herodes. "En la costumbre hebrea, se consideraba que un niño tenía 1 año al nacer, por lo que hay & # x27s una pregunta sobre la edad real".

La Estrella de Belén adorna tradicionalmente las escenas de la guardería que representan el nacimiento de Jesús de Nazaret. (Foto de archivo de Sara Frye)

Los magos eran astrólogos y podían predecir los movimientos planetarios, por lo que podrían haber cronometrado su viaje y podrían haber asociado una cierta alineación con la concepción en lugar del nacimiento, dijo.
"Cuando los magos vieron este objeto en el cielo, pensaron que significaba el nacimiento de alguien importante o que indicaba el momento de la concepción", dijo Bidelman. --Podría haberles tardado seis o siete meses en hacer el viaje, si vinieran de Persia.
Bidelman dijo que el evangelio indica que José y María probablemente se mudaron del pesebre a una casa por unos meses en Belén.
"Mateo dice que vinieron a su casa", dijo Bidelman. --Creo que se quedaron un tiempo en Belén.
Boardman también dijo que los evangelios simplemente no dan mucha información al respecto. "La historia de la Navidad contada en la Biblia es muy esquemática", dijo. "Jesús podría haber tenido tan solo 2 años cuando llegaron los magos, o podrían haberlo visto ir y venir con anticipación".
Encontrar una respuesta astronómica autorizada es imposible, dijo Boardman. "Son casi demasiadas posibilidades en lugar de muy pocas", dijo.


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Conjunciones, la estrella de Belén y la astronomía

Antes de que uno se proponga analizar las cartas astronómicas de los cielos en cualquier fecha (ampliamente disponible ahora en programas de computadora), en relación con los candidatos a la estrella de Belén, uno debe determinar una fecha plausible o un rango de fechas para el nacimiento de Jesús. Los historiadores lo estiman en base a cuándo murió Herodes el Grande: ubicándolo dentro de los dos años anteriores. La fecha más aceptada para la muerte de Herodes es el 4 a. C.

Los cristianos que han escrito sobre esto, por lo tanto, anteriormente se concentraron principalmente en eventos celestiales en los años 7-5 a. C., basándose en la suposición de la muerte de Herodes en el 4 a. C.

Los historiadores han respondido principalmente sobre el historiador judío Josefo (37 - c. 100) para calcular esta "fecha de muerte" del 4 a. C.: particularmente una cronología desarrollada por el teólogo e historiador protestante Emil Schürer en su libro de 1891, Una historia del pueblo judío en la época de Jesucristo.

Josefo declaró (Antigüedades 17.6.4) que se observó un eclipse lunar justo antes de la muerte de Herodes. Esto generalmente se atribuye a un eclipse fechado el 13 de marzo del 4 a. C. Pero se ha observado que fue muy tarde y un eclipse parcial menor. Hubo otro eclipse lunar mucho más visible el 29 de diciembre del año 1 a. C. (sólo tres días antes de que comience "d. C."). La luna ya se elevó en un eclipse del 53% en Israel y el evento terminó a las 6 PM.

También hay disputas académicas en curso sobre los manuscritos de Josefo. Veintisiete textos de Antigüedades de antes de 1544 indican que Herodes murió más tarde de lo que generalmente se supone: en el 1 a. C. o tal vez en el 1 d. C. Esto “trasladaría” la fecha del nacimiento de Jesús al 3 o 2 a. C.: que es la fecha más común declarada por muchos padres de la Iglesia primitiva, como Ireneo de Lyon, Clemente de Alejandría, Tertuliano, Hipólito de Roma, Eusebio de Cesarea y Origen.

Otro argumento que se puede hacer es la fecha de las monedas emitidas por los sucesores de Herodes el Grande. La evidencia muestra que ninguna puede ser fechada antes del 1. ° d. C. Estas monedas estaban controladas por Roma y solo después de la muerte de Herodes el Grande se pudieron emitir.

Wikipedia ("Estrella de Belén") describe brevemente las opiniones del abogado Rick Larson, quien produjo el documental en video muy visto La estrella de Belén en 2007, en relación con eventos celestiales extraordinarios durante el 3 y 2 aC:

Los aspectos más destacados incluyen una triple conjunción de Júpiter, llamado planeta rey, con la estrella fija Regulus, llamada estrella rey, a partir del 3 de septiembre a. C. Larson cree que puede ser el momento de la concepción de Jesús.

... nueve meses después, el período de gestación humana, Júpiter había continuado moviéndose en su órbita alrededor del sol y apareció en estrecha conjunción con Venus en junio del 2 a. C. ...

Luego, Júpiter continuó moviéndose y luego se detuvo en su aparente movimiento retrógrado el 25 de diciembre del 2 a. C. sobre la ciudad de Belén.

El "movimiento retrógrado" de los planetas (particularmente Júpiter) es una ilusión causada por la rotación de la Tierra: de un planeta que se mueve temporalmente en la dirección opuesta a donde "debería" ir (en su órbita). Como analogía, cuando pasamos un automóvil en la autopista, parece que se está moviendo temporalmente hacia atrás.

Siguiendo esa hipótesis, Jesús podría haber nacido el 17 de junio del 2 a.C., cuando Júpiter estaba en una conjunción muy cercana con Venus, tan cerca que incluso pueden haberse superpuesto. A simple vista, habría parecido una estrella muy brillante: tan cerca como puede estar cualquier conjunción. This would have (plausibly) enticed the Magi to journey to Jerusalem, partially because it would have appeared in the west, precisely in that direction.

Other relevant factors are the symbolism of the constellations, and celestial bodies, which were given names such as the “king planet” (Jupiter) and the “king star” Regulus: alluded to above. There is much more along those lines that caused the Magi to conclude that an extraordinary king was to be born in Israel. But for my purposes I have only concentrated on evidence for a very bright star.

In my previous article on this site I noted how the Magi would have needed at least two months, but probably three or four, to journey to Jerusalem on camels. This particular proposed scenario would give them a “window” period of six months, to see the extraordinary conjunction of June 17, 2 BC in their homeland and also the “star of Bethlehem” when they arrived in Israel.

Then in December of 2 BC (possibly on Dec. 25), the wise men arrived and visited Jesus, who was (by this theory) six months old, in Bethlehem. Jupiter was right above Bethlehem then (viewed from Jerusalem), in its paused retrograde motion. On the 25th it came to a stop in the constellation Virgo, and remained for six days.

Thus, we possibly have the wise men visiting Jesus on the date later recognized as Christmas, or at least in the month of December, but without Jesus being a newborn baby, which lines up with patristic thought.

In that year, the feast of Hanukkah began on Dec. 23. It’s a gift-giving feast. They would have observed the entire Jewish nation in a happy holiday spirit. The wise men, if they saw Jesus on the 25th, would in turn have presented gifts to him on the third day of the festival.


Saturday's Venus-Jupiter Encounter May Explain Bible's Star of Bethlehem

It might seem odd to talk about the Star of Bethlehem during the month of August, rather than December, when the celebration of Christmas prompts many people to recount the biblical story of three wise men guided to the birthplace of Jesus Christ by a bright object in the sky.

There have been numerous possible scientific explanations of what the Star of Bethlehem may have been. And whether you believe in the story of the star or not, one of those proposed possibilities will play out in the night sky soon after sundown on Saturday evening (Aug. 27): an exceedingly close encounter between the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter.

Along the East Coast of the U.S., just before sunset, the two planets will be at their very closest and will come within 4 arc minutes (0.06 degrees) of each other. (For comparison, look for the middle star of the Big Dipper's handle, Mizar. There is a tiny companion star next to it known as Alcor, and separation between the two stars is 12 arc minutes, or 0.2 degrees). [Venus-Jupiter Conjunction 2016: When, Where and How to See It]

Two planets coming this close together makes for a very striking sight, if they do not differ too much in brightness.

It must be remembered that the Chaldeans who occupied Mesopotamia 2,000 years ago were assiduous observers of the night sky and were very familiar with the motions of the sun, moon and planets. They would never simply mistake something like the bright star Sirius or a bright planet as being something out of the ordinary. These ancient stargazers were much better acquainted with the stars and constellations than most people in our 21st century world (thanks largely to the scourge of light pollution, which blocks the stars from view). But if something very rare took place in the sky, the ancient skywatchers would have noticed it immediately.

Saturday's Venus-Jupiter encounter is one of those rare events, and something similar appeared in the sky more than 20 centuries ago.

A rare apparition

Taken literally, the biblical account of the story of the Star of Bethlehem calls for not one, but two "stars." One to be seen at the start of the Magi's journey, while the other appearing to them upon their arrival in Bethlehem.

Interestingly, in August of 3 B.C., Venus and Jupiter were prominent in the predawn eastern sky, and on Aug. 12 they came within just 9 arc minutes (0.15 degrees) of each other as seen from the Middle East. Incidentally, this sign would have been seen by men "in the east," explaining the phrase in the Book of Matthew.

Ten months later, Venus and Jupiter got together again for an even more spectacular encore on June 17, 2 B.C., when at sundown from Babylonia they were separated by just 4 arc minutes of each other, about 35 degrees above the western horizon. As the sky grew dark, the two brightest planets drew closer to each other until finally at 9:15 p.m. local time they drew to within 36 arc segundos (0.01 degree) equal to the mean apparent width of Jupiter as seen through a telescope, at an altitude of 15 degrees above the horizon. To most people, the two planets must have appeared to coalesce into a single "star" somewhat brighter than Venus alone. Eyeglasses were many centuries in the future, so only people with unusually acute vision would have seen the planets separated.

The fact that Jupiter and Venus had such a close conjunction at this time in history has led some people theorize that it could be an explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. Space.com makes no such claim, we only point out that such an event is truly eye catching, as skywatchers will have the opportunity to observe this Saturday. [The Brightest Stars in the Sky: A Starry Countdown]

A very challenging observation

It certainly will be interesting to see what kind of spectacle Venus and Jupiter will offer Saturday evening. Unfortunately, unlike 2,000 years ago, seeing the two planets will be a bit of a challenge. Skywatchers who wish to observe the event should make sure they have a clear view of the western horizon, with no tall obstructions, like trees or buildings, to block the view.

Near and along the Atlantic seaboard, about a half hour after sunset, Venus and Jupiter will be difficult to observe, because they will only be about 5 degrees above the horizon, and partly obscured by the bright background of the twilight sky. The planets will be separated by only 5 or 6 arc minutes, and the twinkling caused by Earth's atmosphere, particularly at the horizon, will also make it difficult to distinguish the two planets. Only the sharpest eyes will be able to split them. Farther west, the separation between the two planets will be greater, and for those along the West Coast people with normal eyes should be able to distinguish the two planets, even though the planets will be closer than the stars Mizar and Alcor in the Big Dipper's handle. Wherever you are, binoculars will certainly help you in making a sighting.

Places farther south will see the two planets at a higher altitude. From New York City, Venus and Jupiter will be a mere 5 degrees above the horizon a half hour after sunset. From Brownsville, Texas, or Key West, Florida, the planets will appear twice as high at around 10 degrees. South of the equator, the "double planet" will appear even higher.

From Rio de Janeiro, the planets will appear nearly 20 degrees above the western horizon a half hour after sunset. Remember that your clenched fist, held at arm&rsquos length, measures approximately 10 degrees. So a half hour after sunset, New Yorkers will see Venus and Jupiter only "half a fist" above the horizon. Those in south Florida and south Texas will see them about "one fist up," while in Rio they&rsquoll appear at a more manageable "two fists" up in the western sky.

Sadly, for those living in more northerly locations, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to see the two planets in the twilight. From Edmonton, Alberta, for instance, at a latitude of 54 degrees north, Venus and Jupiter will be sitting on the horizon, about to set out of sight.

In other parts of the world, Venus and Jupiter will appear to come quite close to each other, though not quite as close as Western Hemisphere viewers will see them. Europeans will see them approach to within about 12 or 13 arc minutes of each other. From eastern Asia and Australia, they&rsquoll be separated by about half a degree (the apparent width of a full moon), but the closest approach will come on Sunday, not Saturday evening (local time).

How frequent?

I did a computer check to see just how often Venus and Jupiter come within 6 arc minutes of each other, in a dark or twilight sky as seen from North America. We have to go as far back as Nov. 14. 1660, when the two planets were within 6 arc minutes as they rose above the eastern horizon a few hours before sunrise. Our next opportunity will come on the morning of Nov. 22, 2065, when Venus and Jupiter will be merged together as one brilliant singular point of light as they rise above the east-southeast horizon just before sunrise.


What’s the great conjunction or ‘Christmas Star’?

"Jupiter and Saturn meet in our sky roughly every 20 years. What makes this one particularly special, though, is how close they will appear to each other in the sky," says Shannon Schmoll. (Credit: Steven Severinghaus/Flickr)

You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license.

An astrological event called a great conjunction, or “Christmas Star,” will occur on December 21. The once-in-a-lifetime occurrence may brighten the unusual season.

Shannon Schmoll, director of the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University, offers her insight on the rare view of Jupiter and Saturn:

What is a conjunction? Or what qualifies something as a conjunction?

A conjunction at its most basic level is when two objects, such as planets, pass each other in the sky. The more specific answer, however, has to do with coordinates. We use a coordinate system that is basically stellar longitude and latitude called Right Ascension, RA, and Declination, Dec, respectively. Stars keep the same stellar latitude and longitude like a city on Earth would. Planets move among the stars, which means their RA and Dec change over time. A conjunction is then when two objects have the same RA or stellar longitude. Another way to think about it is if you look at the solar system with a bird’s eye view, the planets are lined up with each other.

Where does the name “great conjunction” come from? Is it specific to this event, has it happened before and will it happen again?

A great conjunction is what we call a conjunction between the two planets Jupiter and Saturn. These two planets are the farthest naked eye planets from the sun and their conjunctions have been observed since antiquity. Because they are farther from the sun, they move slower around the sun and take longer to move around the sun once. This means they line up in our sky less frequently than other planets and are, therefore, the rarest conjunctions people can view with the naked eye.

Jupiter and Saturn line up for conjunction roughly every 20 years. That said, not all are easy to see. The last one was in 2000 and they were so close to the sun from our perspective it was difficult to see. The last time we had an easy-to-see conjunction was in 1981!

Why do some call this a “Christmas Star”?

In the Bible, the star of Bethlehem’s appearance marked the birth of Jesus and sets the Magi travelling to find him. Astronomers over the years have tried to figure out what astronomical event could have been the star of Bethlehem. There was a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn around 7 BCE. A triple conjunction is when (in relatively close succession), the planets will be in conjunction three times. This is because as we pass slower planets, they appear to move backward like passing a slower car on the freeway. This backwards motion is called retrograde motion and can result in the planets appearing to pass each other three times in one year. That said, this was not a particularly close conjunction and would not have been particularly remarkable to see.

In the year 2 BCE, Jupiter did have a very close conjunction with Venus and would have looked like an extra bright star. It also passed by the star Regulus twice that year. Both Regulus and Jupiter were associated with kings and might have had special meaning for the Magi. We don’t really know what the star of Bethlehem was, but because it was very possibly a conjunction some do refer to this conjunction as the “Christmas Star.”

How rare is this occurrence?

Jupiter and Saturn meet in our sky roughly every 20 years. What makes this one particularly special, though, is how close they will appear to each other in the sky. Because orbits are not perfectly lined up, frequently the planets will be in conjunction but still remain about a degree apart. This is still close and neat to see, but they are still farther apart from each other than the moon is wide. They will still appear as two distinct objects in the sky. This conjunction is really close. The planet will only be about a tenth of a degree apart. You will actually be able to see both in a telescope at the same time. This close of a conjunction is pretty rare. In 1961 we had one that was a quarter of a degree apart, which is close, but not as close as this year. You have to go back about eight centuries to find one this close. The next one this close will be about 60 years from now on March 15, 2080.

Do you have any tips for people that are intending on viewing this occurrence?

All you need is a clear view of the lower part of the sky in the southwest. Tops of parking garages or big wide-open parking lots are generally good spots for this if you don’t have a clear view from your home. Jupiter is very bright, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about lights, but still try to get away from a lot of really bright lights. Also, don’t go out just on the 21st, the day of the conjunction. Go as often as you can leading up to the conjunction and in the week or so following to watch them pass each other. If you have a telescope or binoculars, it will be worth getting them out to get a closer view of the planets and their bright moons.

What are some other celestial occurrences that watchers should look for during this period?

We just passed the peak of the Geminid meteor shows. So, the best days are past us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some meteors (aka shooting stars) to be seen right around now. Mars is up high in the South throughout the winter—right after sunset. Look for the brightest orange star. Similar to Jupiter and Saturn, you can watch it move across the constellations. It will pass close to the Pleiades star cluster in late February and early March.


Contenido

The Gospel of Matthew tells how the Magi (often translated as "wise men", but more accurately astrologers) [12] arrive at the court of Herod in Jerusalem and tell the king of a star which signifies the birth of the King of the Jews:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared 8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 When they had heard the king they went their way and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy 11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [13]

Herod is "troubled", not because of the appearance of the star, but because the Magi have told him that a "king of the Jews" had been born, [14] which he understands to refer to the Messiah, a leader of the Jewish people whose coming was believed to be foretold in scripture. So he asks his advisors where the Messiah would be born. [15] They answer Bethlehem, birthplace of King David, and quote the prophet Micah. [nb 1] The king passes this information along to the Magi. [dieciséis]

In a dream, they are warned not to return to Jerusalem, so they leave for their own country by another route. [17] When Herod realizes he has been tricked, he orders the execution of all male children in Bethlehem "two years old and younger," based on the age the child could be in regard to the information the magi had given him concerning the time the star first appeared. [nb 2]

Joseph, warned in a dream, takes his family to Egypt for their safety. [18] The gospel links the escape to a verse from scripture, which it interprets as a prophecy: "Out of Egypt I called my son." [19] This was a reference to the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt under Moses, so the quote suggests that Matthew saw the life of Jesus as recapitulating the story of the Jewish people, with Judea representing Egypt and Herod standing in for pharaoh. [20]

After Herod dies, Joseph and his family return from Egypt, [21] and settle in Nazareth in Galilee. [22] This is also said to be a fulfillment of a prophecy ("He will be called a Nazorean," (NRSV) which could be attributed to Judges 13:5 regarding the birth of Samson and the Nazirite vow. The word Nazareth is related to the word netzer which means "sprout", [23] and which some Bible commentators [24] think refers to Isaiah 11:1 , "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots." [25] [nb 3]

Pious fiction Edit

Many scholars who see the gospel nativity stories as later apologetic accounts created to establish the messianic status of Jesus regard the Star of Bethlehem as a pious fiction. [26] [27] Aspects of Matthew's account which have raised questions of the historical event include: Matthew is the only one of the four gospels which mentions either the Star of Bethlehem or the Magi. Scholars suggest that Jesus was born in Nazareth and that the Bethlehem nativity narratives reflect a desire by the Gospel writers to present his birth as the fulfillment of prophecy. [28]

The Matthew account conflicts with that given in the Gospel of Luke, in which the family of Jesus already lives in Nazareth, travel to Bethlehem for the census, and return home almost immediately. [29]

Matthew's description of the miracles and portents attending the birth of Jesus can be compared to stories concerning the birth of Augustus (63 BC). [nb 4] Linking a birth to the first appearance of a star was consistent with a popular belief that each person's life was linked to a particular star. [30] Magi and astronomical events were linked in the public mind by the visit to Rome of a delegation of magi at the time of a spectacular appearance of Halley's Comet in AD 66 [31] led by King Tiridates of Armenia, who came seeking confirmation of his title from Emperor Nero. Ancient historian Dio Cassius wrote that, "The King did not return by the route he had followed in coming," [31] a line similar to the text of Matthew's account, but written some time after the completion of Matthew's gospel. [32]

Fulfillment of prophecy Edit

The ancients believed that astronomical phenomena were connected to terrestrial events – As Above, So Below. Miracles were routinely associated with the birth of important people, including the Hebrew patriarchs, as well as Greek and Roman heroes. [33]

The Star of Bethlehem is traditionally linked to the Star Prophecy in the Book of Numbers:

I see him, but not now
I behold him, but not near
A Star shall come out of Jacob
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of tumult. [34]

Although possibly intended to refer to a time that was long past, since the kingdom of Moab had long ceased to exist by the time the Gospels were being written, this passage had become widely seen as a reference to the coming of a Messiah. [4] It was, for example, cited by Josephus, who believed it referred to Emperor Vespasian. [35] Origen, one of the most influential early Christian theologians, connected this prophecy with the Star of Bethlehem:

If, then, at the commencement of new dynasties, or on the occasion of other important events, there arises a comet so called, or any similar celestial body, why should it be matter of wonder that at the birth of Him who was to introduce a new doctrine to the human race, and to make known His teaching not only to Jews, but also to Greeks, and to many of the barbarous nations besides, a star should have arisen? Now I would say, that with respect to comets there is no prophecy in circulation to the effect that such and such a comet was to arise in connection with a particular kingdom or a particular time but with respect to the appearance of a star at the birth of Jesus there is a prophecy of Balaam recorded by Moses to this effect: There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up out of Israel. [36]

Origen suggested that the Magi may have decided to travel to Jerusalem when they "conjectured that the man whose appearance had been foretold along with that of the star, had actually come into the world". [37]

The Magi are sometimes called "kings" because of the belief that they fulfill prophecies in Isaiah and Psalms concerning a journey to Jerusalem by gentile kings. [38] Isaiah mentions gifts of gold and incense. [39] In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament probably used by Matthew, these gifts are given as gold and frankincense, [40] similar to Matthew's "gold, frankincense, and myrrh." [41] The gift of myrrh symbolizes mortality, according to Origen. [37]

While Origen argued for a naturalistic explanation, John Chrysostom viewed the star as purely miraculous: "How then, tell me, did the star point out a spot so confined, just the space of a manger and shed, unless it left that height and came down, and stood over the very head of the young child? And at this the evangelist was hinting when he said, "Lo, the star went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was." [42]

Astronomical object Edit

Although magi (Greek μαγοι) is usually translated as "wise men," in this context it probably means 'astronomer'/'astrologer'. [43] The involvement of astrologers in the story of the birth of Jesus was problematic for the early Church, because they condemned astrology as demonic a widely cited explanation was that of Tertullian, who suggested that astrology was allowed 'only until the time of the Gospel'. [44]

Planetary conjunction Edit

In 1614, German astronomer Johannes Kepler determined that a series of three conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 7 BC. [8] He argued (incorrectly) that a planetary conjunction could create a nova, which he linked to the Star of Bethlehem. [8] Modern calculations show that there was a gap of nearly a degree (approximately twice a diameter of the moon) between the planets, so these conjunctions were not visually impressive. [45] An ancient almanac has been found in Babylon which covers the events of this period, but does not indicate that the conjunctions were of any special interest. [45] In the 20th century, Professor Karlis Kaufmanis, an astronomer, argued that this was an astronomical event where Jupiter and Saturn were in a triple conjunction in the constellation Pisces. [46] [47] Archaeologist and Assyriologist Simo Parpola has also suggested this explanation. [48]

In 6 BC, there were conjunctions/occultations (eclipses) of Jupiter by the Moon in Aries. "Jupiter was the regal 'star' that conferred kingships – a power that was amplified when Jupiter was in close conjunctions with the Moon. The second occultation on April 17 coincided precisely when Jupiter was 'in the east', a condition mentioned twice in the biblical account about the Star of Bethlehem." [49]

In 3–2 BC, there was a series of seven conjunctions, including three between Jupiter and Regulus and a strikingly close conjunction between Jupiter and Venus near Regulus on June 17, 2 BC. "The fusion of two planets would have been a rare and awe-inspiring event", according to Roger Sinnott. [50] Another Venus–Jupiter conjunction occurred earlier in August, 3 BC. [51] However, these events occurred after the generally accepted date of 4 BC for the death of Herod. Since the conjunction would have been seen in the west at sunset it could not have led the magi south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. [52]

Double occultation on Saturday (Sabbath) April 17, 6 BC Edit

Astronomer Michael R. Molnar argues that the "star in the east" refers to an astronomical event with astrological significance in the context of ancient Greek astrology. [53] He suggests a link between the Star of Bethlehem and a double occultation of Jupiter by the moon on March 20 and April 17 of 6 BC in Aries, particularly the second occultation on April 17. [54] [55] Occultations of planets by the moon are quite common, but Firmicus Maternus, an astrologer to Roman Emperor Constantine, wrote that an occultation of Jupiter in Aries was a sign of the birth of a divine king. [54] [56] He argues that Aries rather than Pisces was the zodiac symbol for Judea, a fact that would affect previous interpretations of astrological material. Molnar's theory was debated by scientists, theologians, and historians during a colloquium on the Star of Bethlehem at the Netherlands’ University of Groningen in October 2014. Harvard astronomer Owen Gingerich supports Molnar's explanation but noted technical questions. [57] "The gospel story is one in which King Herod was taken by surprise," said Gingerich. "So it wasn’t that there was suddenly a brilliant new star sitting there that anybody could have seen [but] something more subtle." [57] Astronomer David A. Weintraub says, "If Matthew’s wise men actually undertook a journey to search for a newborn king, the bright star didn’t guide them it only told them when to set out." [53]

There is an explanation given that the events were quite close to the sun and would not have been visible to the naked eye. [58]

Regulus, Jupiter, and Venus Edit

Attorney Frederick Larson examined the biblical account in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2 [59] and found the following nine qualities of Bethlehem's Star: [60] [61] It signified birth, it signified kingship, it was related to the Jewish nation, and it rose "in the East" [62] King Herod had not been aware of it [63] it appeared at an exact time [64] it endured over time [65] and, according to Matthew, [66] it was in front of the Magi when they traveled south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and then stopped over Bethlehem. [67]

Using the Starry Night astronomy software, and an article [68] written by astronomer Craig Chester [69] based on the work of archeologist and historian Ernest Martin, [70] [71] Larson thinks all nine characteristics of the Star of Bethlehem are found in events that took place in the skies of 3–2 BC. [61] [72] Highlights [73] include a triple conjunction of Jupiter, called the king planet, with the fixed star Regulus, called the king star, starting in September 3 BC. [74] [75] Larson believes that may be the time of Jesus' conception. [72]

By June of 2 BC, nine months later, the human gestation period, [76] Jupiter had continued moving in its orbit around the sun and appeared in close conjunction with Venus [75] in June of 2 BC. [77] In Hebrew Jupiter is called "Sedeq", meaning "righteousness", a term also used for the Messiah, and suggested that because the planet Venus represents love and fertility, so Chester had suggested astrologers would have viewed the close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus as indicating a coming new king of Israel, and Herod would have taken them seriously. [70] Astronomer Dave Reneke independently found the June 2 BC planetary conjunction, and noted it would have appeared as a "bright beacon of light". [78] According to Chester, the disks of Jupiter and Venus would have appeared to touch [68] and there has not been as close a Venus-Jupiter conjunction since then. [70]

Jupiter next continued to move and then stopped in its apparent retrograde motion on December 25 of 2 BC over the town of Bethlehem. [75] Since planets in their orbits have a "stationary point", [68] [70] a planet moves eastward through the stars but, "As it approaches the opposite point in the sky from the sun, it appears to slow, come to a full stop, and move backward (westward) through the sky for some weeks. Again it slows, stops, and resumes its eastward course," said Chester. [68] The date of December 25 that Jupiter appeared to stop while in retrograde took place in the season of Hanukkah, [68] and is the date later chosen to celebrate Christmas. [75] [79]

Heliacal rising Edit

The Magi told Herod that they saw the star "in the East," [80] or according to some translations, "at its rising", [81] which may imply the routine appearance of a constellation, or an asterism. One theory interprets the phrase in Matthew 2:2, "in the east," as an astrological term concerning a "heliacal rising." This translation was proposed by Edersheim [82] and Heinrich Voigt, among others. [83] The view was rejected by the philologist Franz Boll (1867–1924). Two modern translators of ancient astrological texts insist that the text does not use the technical terms for either a heliacal or an acronycal rising of a star. However, one concedes that Matthew may have used layman's terms for a rising. [84]

Comet Edit

Other writers highly suggest that the star was a comet. [45] Halley's Comet was visible in 12 BC and another object, possibly a comet or nova, was seen by Chinese and Korean stargazers in about 5 BC. [45] [85] This object was observed for over seventy days, possibly with no movement recorded. [45] Ancient writers described comets as "hanging over" specific cities, just as the Star of Bethlehem was said to have "stood over" the "place" where Jesus was (the town of Bethlehem). [31] However, this is generally thought unlikely as in ancient times comets were generally seen as bad omens. [86] The comet explanation has been recently promoted by Colin Nicholl. His theory involves a hypothetical comet which could have appeared in 6 BC. [87] [88] [89]

Supernova Edit

A recent (2005) hypothesis advanced by Frank Tipler is that the star of Bethlehem was a supernova or hypernova occurring in the nearby Andromeda Galaxy. [90] Although it is difficult to detect a supernova remnant in another galaxy, or obtain an accurate date of when it occurred, supernova remnants have been detected in Andromeda. [91]

Another theory is the more likely supernova of February 23 4 BC, which is now known as PSR 1913+16 or the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar. It is said to have appeared in the constellation of Aquila, near the intersection of the winter colure and the equator of date. The nova was "recorded in China, Korea, and Palestine" (probably meaning the Biblical account). [92]

A nova or comet was recorded in China in 4 BC. "In the reign of Ai-ti, in the third year of the Chien-p'ing period. In the third month, day chi-yu, there was a rising po at Hoku" (Han Shu, The History of the Former Han Dynasty). The date is equivalent to April 24, 4 BC. This identifies the date when it was first observed in China. It was also recorded in Korea. "In the fifty-fourth year of Hyokkose Wang, in the spring, second month, day chi-yu, a po-hsing appeared at Hoku" (Samguk Sagi, The Historical Record of the Three Kingdoms). The Korean is particularly corrupt because Ho (1962) points out that " the chi-yu day did not fall in the second month that year but on the first month" (February 23) and on the third month (April 24). The original must have read "day chi-yu, first month" (February 23) or "day chi-yu, third month" (April 24). The latter would coincide with the date in the Chinese records although professor Ho suggests the date was "probably February 23, 4 BC.". [93]

If the story of the Star of Bethlehem described an actual event, it might identify the year Jesus was born. The Gospel of Matthew describes the birth of Jesus as taking place when Herod was king. [94] According to Josephus, Herod died after a lunar eclipse [95] and before a Passover Feast. [96] [97] The eclipse is usually identified as the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC. [ cita necesaria ] Other scholars suggested dates in 5 BC, because it allows seven months for the events Josephus documented between the lunar eclipse and the Passover rather than the 29 days allowed by lunar eclipse in 4 BC. [98] [99] Others suggest it was an eclipse in 1 BC. [100] [101] [102] The narrative implies that Jesus was born sometime between the first appearance of the star and the appearance of the Magi at Herod's court. That the king is said to have ordered the execution of boys two years of age and younger implies that the Star of Bethlehem appeared within the preceding two years. Some scholars date the birth of Jesus as 6–4 BC, [103] while others suggest Jesus' birth was in 3–2 BC. [100] [101]

The Gospel of Luke says the census from Caesar Augustus took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. [104] Tipler suggests this took place in AD 6, nine years after the death of Herod, and that the family of Jesus left Bethlehem shortly after the birth. [90] Some scholars explain the apparent disparity as an error on the part of the author of the Gospel of Luke, [105] [106] concluding that he was more concerned with creating a symbolic narrative than a historical account, [107] and was either unaware of, or indifferent to, the chronological difficulty. [108]

However, there is some debate among Bible translators about the correct reading of Luke 2:2 ("Αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου"). [109] Instead of translating the registration as taking place "when" Quirinius was governor of Syria, some versions translate it as "before" [110] [111] or use "before" as an alternative, [112] [113] [114] which Harold Hoehner, F.F. Bruce, Ben Witherington and others have suggested may be the correct translation. [115] While not in agreement, Emil Schürer also acknowledged that such a translation can be justified grammatically. [116] According to Josephus, the tax census conducted by the Roman senator Quirinius particularly irritated the Jews, and was one of the causes of the Zealot movement of armed resistance to Rome. [117] From this perspective, Luke may have been trying to differentiate the census at the time of Jesus’ birth from the tax census mentioned in Acts 5:37 [118] that took place under Quirinius at a later time. [119] One ancient writer identified the census at Jesus’ birth, not with taxes, but with a universal pledge of allegiance to the emperor. [120]

Jack Finegan noted some early writers' reckoning of the regnal years of Augustus are the equivalent to 3/2 BC, or 2 BC or later for the birth of Jesus, including Irenaeus (3/2 BC), Clement of Alexandria (3/2 BC), Tertullian (3/2 BC), Julius Africanus (3/2 BC), Hippolytus of Rome (3/2 BC), Hippolytus of Thebes (3/2 BC), Origen (3/2 BC), Eusebius of Caesarea (3/2 BC), Epiphanius of Salamis (3/2 BC), Cassiodorus Senator (3 BC), Paulus Orosius (2 BC), Dionysus Exiguus (1 BC), and Chronographer of the Year 354 (AD 1). [121] Finegan places the death of Herod in 1 BC, and says if Jesus was born two years or less before Herod the Great died, the birth of Jesus would have been in 3 or 2 BC. [122] Finegan also notes the Alogi reckoned Christ's birth with the equivalent of 4 BC or AD 9. [123]


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