Amazingly, astronomy can explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem
Puzzles for astronomy
To understand the Star of Bethlehem, we need to think like the three wise men. Motivated by this “star in the east,” they first traveled to Jerusalem and told King Herod the prophecy that a new ruler of the people of Israel would be born. We also need to think like King Herod, who asked the wise men when the star had appeared, because he and his court, apparently, were unaware of any such star in the sky.
These events present us with our first astronomy puzzle of the first Christmas: How could King Herod’s own advisers have been unaware of a star so bright and obvious that it could have led the wise men to Jerusalem?
Next, in order to reach Bethlehem, the wise men had to travel directly south from Jerusalem; somehow that “star in the east” “went before them, ’til it came and stood over where the young child was.” Now we have our second first-Christmas astronomy puzzle: How can a star “in the east” guide our wise men to the south? The North Star guides lost hikers to the north, so shouldn’t a star in the east have led the wise men to the east?
And we have yet a third first-Christmas astronomy puzzle: How does Matthew’s star move “before them,” like the taillights on the snowplow you might follow during a blizzard, and then stop and stand over the manger in Bethlehem, inside of which supposedly lies the infant Jesus?
Click there to see the whole article in The Washington Post