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Wednesday, 10 December 2008 21:38

Three Wise Men saw Jesus in June

According to Australian astronomer David Reneke, the bright Christmas Star (or, the Star of Bethlehem), which has been written about as appearing over the little manger in the town of Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago, did not occur in December but in June. Maybe Bing Crosby should be singing about a "Green Christmas," not a White one?

David Reneke, who is the news editor of Sky and Space magazine, used computer software that began with St. Matthew’s Gospel (for instance, Gospel of Matthew, chapter 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.”).

He then used that reference point to pinpoint the close proximity (or, conjunction) of Venus and Jupiter. The software, in general, is able to re-create the position of celestial bodies in the sky on any night for the past several thousands of years.

Reneke found that the bright star the supposedly brought the Three Wise Men, or magi, to the manger in Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus Christ occurred on June 17 2 B.C., rather than on December 25th somewhere between the years 8 B.C. and A.D. 6, at least according to some Biblical historians and scholars.

Others pinpoint the nativity between 3 B.C. and A.D. 1. (There is no year 0 in the Gregorian calendar, but goes from 1 B.C. to A.D. 1, where B.C. stands for Before Christ’s birth, and A.D. is short for Anno Domini, or after the birth of Christ.)

Dave Reneke concluded that Venus and Jupiter were so close in the night sky (a conjunction of the planets) that they appeared as a “spectacular astronomical event.” [Telegraph.co.uk: “'Jesus was born in June', astronomers claim”]

He stated, “Venus and Jupiter became very close in the the year 2 B.C. and they would have appeared to be one bright beacon of light.” [United Press International: “Astronomer says Christ was born in June”]

Page two continues with more discussions about the Christmas Star.

Reneke added, "We are not saying this was definitely the Christmas star. But it is the strongest explanation for it of any I have seen so far. There's no other explanation that so closely matches the facts we have from the time." [New Scientist: “Dreaming of a hot Christmas”]

He also stated, "This could well have been what the three wise men interpreted as a sign. They could easily have mistaken it for one bright star.” [Telegraph.co.uk]

Reneke added, "Astronomy is such a precise science, we can plot exactly where the planets were, and it certainly seems this is the fabled Christmas star." [Telegraph.co.uk]

Of course, other scientists have other explanations for the Christmas Star, such as being a double eclipse of the planet Jupiter, a supernova, bright meteor, or a comet. Other general theories include space aliens (UFOs), beliefs in astrology at the time, or an unidentified star.

For additional information on explanations for the Christmas Star, please read the Dr. Danial Harris article “Naturalism, or Faith in God: Your Choice!

The BBC also talks about several theories behind the event at “The Christmas Star.

Mr Reneke, formerly the chief lecturer at the Port Macquarie Observatory in New South Wales, added: "December is an arbitrary date we have accepted but it doesn't really mean that is when it happened." [Telegraph]

"This is not an attempt to decry religion. It's really backing it up as it shows there really was a bright object appearing in the East at the right time." [Telegraph]

Page three concludes with the religion and science of the Christmas Star.

Reneke concluded, "Often when we mix science with religion in this kind of forum, it can upset people. In this case, I think this could serve to reinforce people's faith."

Author's Note: When we talk about science and religion, I would always hope the people of religion and people of science work together for the good of humanity.

For, there is little value in anything that is not truthful. All peoples should strive to learn the truth in whatever form it may take.

And, we learn the truth by honestly studying and researching the past to better our present, and to better the future of our children.

Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa.

Happy Yule. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (The birthday of the unconquered sun). Happy Winter Solstice. De Pascha Computus (The Calendar of Feasts). Feast of Epiphany.

And others....

Similarly, I wish you plenty of presents of joy from Santa Claus for those of you in Australia and the United States, Father Christmas in the United Kingdom, Svaty Mikalas in Czechoslovakia, Dun Che Lao Ren in China, Pere Noel in France, and Saint Nicholas in Germany, Russia, and Greece.

And, best wishes for people in Denmark with Julemanden, Iceland with Jolasveinar, Italy with La Befana, Japan with Hoteiosho, Norway with Julebukk, the Netherlands with Sinterklaas, Wales with Mari Ilwyd, Sweden with Tomte, Spain with Balthazar, ... and all others all round the world.

May stars shine brightly over your local skies in the future!

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