does the star of bethlehem exist.?
if so, how far away is it from earth?
- Anne MarieLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
This question has been argued up and down. The accounts mentioned in the Gospels would be astronomically impossible. The planet Venus, for one, could not be the Star of Bethlehem as described in the Bible.
This is not to deny the possibility of a miracle. But the Star of Bethlehem, as described, clearly could not have been an astronomical event.
According to Matthew, "... and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was."
Anyone who watches the skies know that stars and planets don't move like that, coming to rest over a certain place. They do not come to rest at all. If the Star of Bethlehem were an astronomical object, it could not move to the zenith at Bethlehem and then stop, to mark the place.
A star must always stay with a constellation if it were, say, a supernova. It would follow the same orbit night after night. (No supernova was reported by astronomers anywhere in the world at that time, and certainly not with the remarkable start-stop properties of the Star of Bethlehem.) For a star at astronomical distances to stop while the rest of the constellations moved would be utterly impossible under Einsteinian relativity, since it would be moving relative to other stars at a speed far, far in excess of the speed of light.
It could not have been the star Polaris, the current north star, because in the time of Jesus Polaris was not the north star! Due to the astronomical phenomenon of precession, the closest noticeable star to due north was Kochab, in the bowl of the Little Dipper, and it got no closer than 8 degrees from the pole. In any case, if the "north star" were overhead, then Jesus must have been born at the north pole.
If it were an unusual conjunction of bright planets, everyone would have noticed the planets coming together well in advance. Bright planets do not stop, over Bethlehem or anyplace else. They move through the evening. Jupiter and Saturn passed one another in the year 7 B.C., but no one thinks Jesus was born in 7 B.C., and if He was, a lot of other biblical events must be wrongly reported.
If Venus were one of these bright planets, it is metaphysically impossible for Venus to appear overhead in the night sky. Venus cannot get higher than 47 degrees ahead of the sun, anywhere in the world.
One intriguing hypothesis says that perhaps it was the planetary conjunction in August, 2 B.C (the Gospel writers don't reveal the month of Jesus's birth) of Jupiter, Venus and Mars, all exceptionally close together in the sky. This actually happened, and there's even a Wikipedia page about it. I suppose that astrologers of the day might well have been fascinated, but the Wikipedia account of this planetary conjunction leaves out one essential fact: it all happened against a bright sky within a few minutes of sunrise. The Wikipedia image fails to show that the sun actually sat directly between Venus and the Jupiter-Mars pair. The "star" would have been invisible to the unaided eye, lost in solar glare. If this "star" did indeed pass overhead it would have done so at noon, a time when absolutely no one could have spied it, what with the blazing sun of Bethlehem less than a fists-width away.
The most obvious explanation for the Star of Bethlehem is that it fulfills a pre-existing prophecy in the Book of Micah. Either God performed a special miracle at Bethlehem, one that does not involve astronomical phenomena (something like the miracle of the falling sun at Fatima, reported by the faithful in 1917 but absolutely not observed anywhere else in the world, despite its obviously earth-shaking nature); or Gospel writers simply supposed that the Star of Bethlehem must have happened because the prophet Micah said it would.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
We may never know. Record from the time, and records OF the time, aren't the most reliable.
Also taking into account that the Wise Man may have dabbled in astrology, could mean that an impressive conjunction of planets symbolized the birth of a king, and wasn't a literal star that stayed at the zenith over bethlehem (because the Earth rotates, this is not possible).
Some say a supernova. Some say a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, some say a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. Unless we can pinpoint the date, it's really just speculation.
- Just HelpingLv 41 decade ago
That is hard to say. According to the Biblical account, the star only appeared at that time, and then faded away. It was not recorded exactly where in the sky the star was. It has been suggested that it may have been a supernova that occurred exactly then.
But no, there is no star in the sky now that we can say is the Star of Bethlehem.
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- power53Lv 51 decade ago
We may never answer this question to everyone's satisfaction. I am of the opinion that the star that was called "his star", refering to Jesus Christ, was actually a conjunction of two planets. The ancients called planets "moving stars" because they changed there positions in relation to other stars almost every night.
A great illustration of a conjunction can be seen here...
- phred01Lv 41 decade ago
probably it was a supernova