What Exactly Was this.. Any Solution Yet?

Nov 24, 2022
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What exactly was the Christmas Star that they all followed? Speculation has been rife for centuries but has anyone actually come close to solving this yet?
I have my theories but what do you think? What is the astronomical object that caused this or is it beyond science?

Just asking as it is that time of year.;)
There are two key elements, IMO, to the Christmas Star texts (scriptures).

1) Whatever was first seen only guided them to the kingdom whose capital was Jerusalem. From there they had to ask their questions to guide them further.

2) The next observation was of a "star" that directed them to a specific location - a stable in Bethlehem.

The general view seems to be that these travelers (perhaps three since there were three gifts given) were likely Persian magi that saw some celestial event "in the east" , meaning they were in the east when they saw the star.

There were two celestial objects besides the Sun and Moon - stars and wandering stars (ie planets, which means wandering stars). So any light could be a star.

Astrology was very important until the mid 1600s. But the intensity some folks had likely varied from time to time. These magi likely were really into it for some reason or another, IMO. They had the funds necessary to make an extensive travel and they were willing to use them.

Using Starry Night, or was it Stellarium, I tried to establish every important celestial event. Planetary alignments were, and for today's astrologers, very critical to predict events. Constellations were often assigned to countries, with Aries being perhaps the most popular one for Judea. So, one or more planets in Aries may have been seen as spectacular.

But could it have been a supernova or a nova? Astronomers haven't found any from this time frame, especially supernovae that leave great evidence of their past. Novae are reoccurring, but I don't know enough to rule this out.

So, IMO, some significant astrological event (not supernatural) stirred the magi enough to travel to Jerusalem.

But no star can every shine light directly to a specific location. A light ("star") in the sky that does this would likely, IMO, need to be a supernatural light, and radiating upon a supernatural event.

I happened to find this old study I did....
It starts at 6 BC since Herod seems to have died in 4 BC and he was part of this story, but in a brutal way.

Celestial events as seen from the Baghdad region
["min" means arcminutes.]

6 BC:
Jan. 1: Jupiter & Saturn close in Pisces
Jan. 23: Saturn equidistant between Jupiter and Moon in Pisces (pointing to Aries?)
Feb. 20: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and new Moon all within about 3 deg. radius
In Pisces at 7pm on western horizon
Mar. 4: Jupiter and Mars conjunction at sunset
Horizontal alignment with Saturn directly below
Mar. 19: Lunar occulation of Saturn (not visible, too close to Sun and below horizon)
Mar. 24: Venus and Saturn conjunction at dawn in Pisces
Apr. 16: Lunar occulation of Saturn, 12:50 pm in Pisces. (not visible, daytime)
Apr. 17: Lunar occulation of Jupiter, about 12:45 pm (daytime)
Apr. 18: Annular Solar eclipse (not visible from Middle East)
Apr. 24: Saturn and Venus only 42 arcmin separation in Pisces
Seen only briefly around 4:30 am on horizon (4 deg alt.)
May 8: Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus (34 arcmin in Aries).
Visible only on horizon from 4 to 5:30 am
May 13: Lunar occulation of Saturn in Pisces (not visible from Middle East)
11 pm but 46 deg below horizon. Venus and Jupiter reasonably close by.
May 15: Lunar conjunction of Jupiter in Aries (< 6 arcminutes)
Visible about one and one-half hours before conjunction.
Venus-Jupiter-Moon-Saturn aligned (Aries region)
May 16: Venus and very thin crescent Moon proximity (3 deg) in Taurus
Seen only briefly about 4:30 am
Jul. 2: Venus & Mars conjunction at dusk
Jul. 10: Mercury & Venus conjunction at dusk (Mars nearby)
Jul. 22: Saturn begins retrograde between Cetus and Aries
Aug. 22: Jupiter begins retrograde back into Aries (December)
Sep. 2: Mars visible within 50 arcminutes of Regulus at 4:30am in Leo
Sep 14: Lunar occulation of Venus (far below horizon, not visible)
Nov. 7: Mars about 2 deg. from Moon when it rises in East (2 am in Virgo)

5 BC: [Most activity too close to Sun]
Mar. 11: Lunar conjunction of Venus with Jupiter and Pleiades very close
Region between Taurus and Aries asterisms.
Actual conjunction only 1 arcmin separation but well below horizon
Mar. 23: Total Lunar eclipse, 9:30 pm, 38 deg. alt., in Virgo
Sep. 15: Total Lunar eclipse, 11:20 pm, 50 deg. alt., in Pisces

4BC: [Most activity too close to Sun]
Jan. 30: Lunar conjunction with Mars in Pisces
30 arcminutes at 3pm, 1 deg. at 6 pm.
Mar. 6 & 7: Conjuction of Saturn and Mars (~ 2 deg)
Seen near western horizon around 7:30 pm, in Aries
Mar 13: Lunar eclipse (1/3 partial umbral passage), 3:30 am in Virgo (33 deg alt.)
May 9: Conjunction of Saturn and Mercury, dawn, in Taurus
May 17: Conjunction of Mars and Venus at dusk near horizon (Jupiter nearby)
May 23: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter at dusk near horizon in Gemini
Sep 5: Lunar eclipse (2/3 umbral passage), but at 2:15 pm and well below horizon

Apr. 2: Saturn, Venus, Mars grouping in Taurus
Jun 13: Saturn and Venus conjunction, seen rising at 3 am in Taurus
Aug 12: Jupiter and Venus close conjuction, seen rising at 5 am in Leo
Sep 5: Lunar occulation of Jupiter near Regulus in Leo
Not visible until 1 deg. separation when rising at 3 am.
Sep 14: Jupiter rises with Regulus in Leo
About 15 arcmin. Separation at 4 am, 24 deg. alt.
Oct. 3: Jupiter, Regulus, and crescent Moon within 3 deg. radius of Regulus (Leo)
Oct. 31: Close conjunction of Moon and Jupiter in Leo at 4 am,
About 30 min. separation at 60 deg. alt.

2 BC
Jan 20: Lunar eclipse below horizon in daytime (2 pm)
Mar 25: Saturn and Mars conjunction setting in Taurus (8:30 pm), Venus nearby
Apr 3: Saturn, Venus, Mars grouping (3 deg. radius from Venus) at setting
Apr 12: Moon, Regulus, Jupiter alignment
May 7: Crescent Moon close conjunction (2 arcminutes) of Venus in Gemini
But 20 deg. below horizon
May 10: Moon, Regulus, Jupiter alignment seen at midnight at setting
Jun 17: Venus occulation of Jupiter (8 arcsec separation), 9:18pm in Leo
Jul 17: Lunar eclipse below horizon in daytime (8:30 am)
Oct 14: Jupiter and Venus conjunction rising at 3 am in Virgo
Nearby is Mars close to Spica
Oct 24: Jupiter, Venus, Spica, crescent Moon grouping in Virgo (5 am)
Dec 8: Venus and Mars conjunction rising at 4 am in Libra
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Following what Helio posted, here are some notes I made on the subject.

Herod’s sons studied the sciences at Rome and Herod was familiar with these sciences, astronomy and astrology. The description of Herod’s reaction to the report of the magi in Jerusalem and the star they observed fits what is known about Herod and astrology. Josephus records Tiberius was addicted to astrology as well.

The magi studied the stars. Magi are referenced by Josephus and Philo writings as well as other sources.

Michael Molnar’s research indicates that Judea was known in astrology charts under the sign of Aries during Roman times which may help explain the report of the magi to Herod.

The gifts brought by the Magi, BAR published a report showing archaeology confirms.

The time of Herod’s death is anchored by the lunar eclipse recorded by Josephus dated to March 13th, 4 B.C. Herod died in 4 BC. A lunar eclipse dates that year in Josephus writings and the battle of Actium dates Herod's death too. Josephus record of Archelaus reign over Judea, when Caesar Augustus deposed Archelaus, and the Battle of Actium all frame the year of Herod's death. Josephus shows that Caesar Augustus deposed Archelaus in his 37th year of reign after the Battle of Actium.

The slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem by Herod matches his orders to slay the prominent Jews locked up in the hippodrome after his death so the Jews would mourn his passing. Herod killing infants fits the description of his murders recorded in Josephus.

Archelaus was appointed over the kingdom after Herod’s death, documented by Josephus writings.

Josephus writings show the Jews were looking for the coming of a king during this period. Herod as a child was prophesied as the coming king of the Jews. Later during the war with Rome in 70 A.D., prophecies of the coming ruler or Messiah, Josephus applied to Vespasian while the Jews looked for a ruler from their own nation to deliver them.
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