Bright stars adorn the tops of Christmas trees around the world. Almost everyone knows about the star that led the Magi to the manger in the little town of Bethlehem
, birthplace of Jesus.
The star of Bethlehem described in the gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Is this the star of biblical fiction, or existed in reality? Let's look at it from the point of view of the astronomers described in Phys.org.Astronomical question
to understand the star of Bethlehem, we need to think as I thought the three wise men. Guided by this "star in the East," they first arrived in Jerusalem and told king Herod about the prophecy: born new ruler of the nation of Israel. We also need to think like king Herod, who asked the three wise men when the star appeared, because he and his court, apparently, had not seen this star in the sky.
These events give us the first astronomy puzzle of the first Christmas: how could the sages of the court of king Herod not know about the appearance of this bright star and how it led the Magi to Jerusalem?
To reach Bethlehem, the wise men had to travel directly South from Jerusalem; "the star in the East moved before them until it stopped over the place where the young child was". And here we have the second astronomical mystery of the first Christmas: like a star "in the East" could lead the wise men to the South? North star brought lost Wanderers to the North, so why the star in the East led the Magi to the East?
There is a third part of the mystery of the first Christmas: the star is described by Matthew, moved "before them," and then stopped and hung over the manger in Bethlehem, which supposedly lay the baby Jesus?What could be a "star in the East"?
Any astronomer knows that no star can do that. Neither the comet, nor Jupiter, nor a supernova, nor the parade of planets or whatever else might not behave in the night sky. One would assume that the words of Matthew describes the miracle beyond the laws of physics. But Matthew carefully chosen words and twice wrote "star in the East", which suggests that these words had special significance for readers of his gospel.
Can we find another explanation that would fit the words of Matthew, and which does not require violations of the laws of physics? Which fit into the modern way of astronomy? Oddly enough, the answer is "Yes".
Astronomer Michael Molnar points out that "in the East" is a literal translation of the Greek phrase en te anatole, which was a technical term used in Greek mathematical astrology 2,000 years ago. He describes, very specifically, a planet that rises above the Eastern horizon shortly before sunrise. After a few moments after the appearance of the planet it disappears in the bright light of the Sun in the morning sky. Turns out, no one sees this "star in the East", if not look at her at some point.
Now let's bring a little astronomy. In the course of human life, almost all stars remain in their places. Stars on and off every night, but do not move relative to each other. The stars of the Big dipper appear from year to year in the same place. But the planets, the Sun and the Moon differ from the fixed stars; in fact, the word "planet" comes from the Greek name "wandering star". Although the planets, the Sun and the Moon move approximately along the same path against the background stars, they travel at different speeds, so sometimes close to each other. When the Sun covers the planet, we can't see her, but when the Sun overtakes the planet, it appears again.
Now, back to astrology. When the planet reappears in the morning sky shortly before sunrise, for the first time in many months, during which time she was hiding in the radiance of the stars, this moment is known to astrologers as the heliacal rising. The heliacal rising is a special first appearance of the planet, is what the Greek astrologers called en te anatole. In particular, the heliacal rising of Jupiter was thought by Greek astrologers important event for all those born on this day.
Thus, the "star in the East" refers to the astronomical event, which was astrologically important in the context of ancient Greek astrology.
What about unexpected Parking lot of the star over the manger? The biblical analogue of the "frozen star" comes from the Greek word epano, which also was important to the ancient astrologers. It means a point when the planet stops its movement and begins to move in the West and in the East. This occurs when the Earth, orbiting the Sun faster than Mars, Jupiter or Saturn, catches up to another planet.
Thus, a rare combination of astrological events (need a planet appeared in front of the Sun; the Sun was in the right zodiac constellation; the number of positions of the planets, important to astrologers) has allowed the ancient Greek astrologers to assume that the very day he was born is truly the king of kings.The Magi, looking to the sky,
Molnar believes that the wise men, in fact, was a very wise and mathematically-savvy astrologers. They also knew about the old Testament prophecy that the new king would be born in the family of David. Most likely, they watched the skies for many years, waiting for the aligning of objects, which will Herald the birth of a new king. When a powerful set of astrological omens were compiled, the Magi decided that it was time to find the baby.
If the Magi of Matthew actually undertook a journey to search for the newborn king, the bright star could not to guide them; it only told them when to go. And they couldn't find the baby in the manger. In the end, the child was already 8 months by the time when they figured out the astrological message that, in their opinion, foreshadowed the birth of the future king. A sign appeared on 17 April 6 BC (galicyjska the rising of Jupiter that morning, followed by lunch had covered the Moon in the constellation Aries) and lasted until 19 December 6 BC (when Jupiter stopped moving to the West, stopped talking and started moving to the East relative to the frozen against the stars). For the short time it took the Magi to reach Bethlehem, the baby Jesus is getting a little thick.