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The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus

 
Anonymous Coward
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03/02/2009 01:42 PM
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The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
First of all, let's clear up some misconceptions. The Star of Bethlehem was not bright at all. The only reference to it in the Bible says nothing about it being bright or attention-getting at all, and instead says that most people never even noticed it, and were surprised when they heard about it from the Magi. Thus, it was dim, not bright, despite what Hollywood would like you to think.

People say the Star of Bethlehem could not be a normal star, because stars don't move in the sky. But this is wrong. Every star moves in the sky every night, due to the earth's rotation. The bigger question is how to understand it when the Bible says that the star stopped moving over the place where the child was born. How does a star stop moving? Every star does that every night when the sun comes up.

The September 16th, 1 BC eclipse seems to offer an intriguing explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. Extremely respected in their own time, the Magi were legendary figures known throughout the ancient Middle East, even holding an official position within the government of Parthia — as Imperial counselors to the Emperor. Virtually everything we know about the Star of Bethlehem comes from what they are supposed to have said about it, and perhaps even more importantly, from how they reacted to it.

They seem to have been the only ones who witnessed this star at all; contrary to popular imagination, the Biblical report indicates that this star was never even noticed by anyone else. It apparently didn’t stand out very much at all, and must not have been very impressive visually. Besides this potentially useful insight, the only other things we know for sure about the Star of Bethlehem is :

(1) The Magi reportedly saw it rise in the East, and

(2) Whatever it was seemed so important to them that they decided to make a long and difficult journey halfway across their known world to look for a newborn baby, and

(3) When they found this infant, they worshiped it like a god, and

(4) There is no other record of the Magi, or indeed anyone, ever doing anything remotely like this before or since.

Anyone living near India’s Indus River who had been monitoring the New Moon of September 16th, 1 BC would have seen it setting on their Western horizon just as the New Moon became exact. For many reasons, this was an unusual New Moon; it was conjunct Jupiter and Pluto (actually positioned right between them), and opposite a Mars/Uranus conjunction, a rare line-up by anyone's standards. Even though people of that era would have had no clue that Uranus and Pluto were also going to be involved in the lineup, such an angular New Moon alignment still would have been a once-in-a-lifetime event for ancient India’s famous astrologers. By itself, any New Moon this close to Jupiter (less than one degree away) would have been considered noteworthy by the astrologers of that era, since such tight New Moon/Jupiter conjunctions only occur about once every 27 years or so. But to have this Jupiter/Sun/Moon conjunction also oppose Mars at the same time would have made this a definite must-see event for India’s ancient skywatchers. And as if that weren’t enough, the whole alignment would have been straddling their own horizon the precise moment the New Moon became exact; such an unusual angular alignment, they would have realized, only occurs once in many thousands of years. ‘Parans’, near-simultaneous angle crossings such as these, were considered extremely important in ancient astrology. But risings were held to be of far greater importance than settings; risings were the future, while settings were the past. This simple fact might have left the ancient Magi very concerned, for the glorious (Jupiter) New Moon alignment setting precisely on their horizon would have carried the uncomfortable suggestion that their own glorious civilization might be about to fall, while some other martial force (indicated by Mars rising at the same time on the opposite horizon) was about to appear.

Would they have been confident that this was the correct interpretation of the alignment? Most likely not; experience would have taught them, just as it does modern astrologers, to be wary of jumping to any extreme conclusions. But some concern probably would at least have crossed their minds, and they would have made a point of watching this alignment very closely that night, measuring it as best they could.

It seems safe to assume that India’s Magi would have been paying very close attention to this alignment in their skies that night, and as they watched the Sun set on their Western horizon, they would have naturally turned to observe Mars rising like clockwork in the East. And as they were carefully monitoring its upward progress into the night sky, they would have been in the perfect position to notice a strange new star they'd never noticed before — the planet Uranus. Uranus was conjunct Mars that night, and while Uranus is commonly assumed to be invisible to the naked eye, this is not entirely true. Objects with an apparent visual magnitude of 6, like Uranus, are able to be seen with the naked eye from dark rural areas located far away from major cities.

Did the Magi notice Uranus that evening? They may have; the angular New Moon alignment of September 16th, 1 BC virtually guarantees that they would have been looking in the right place at the right time. The Magi had a long-standing reputation as excellent astrologers, and undoubtedly believed themselves to be thoroughly familiar with all the visible stars in the zodiac. If they really were, and happened to notice the faint dot of Uranus in the sky, they would have immediately realized that it didn't belong, that it hadn't been there before, at least not according to their records.

What would their reaction have been if they had spotted it? They'd have studied it carefully (that was their job), and eventually they would have realized that it was not another fixed star at all, but a whole new planet, another moving star — another god! Back then, virtually all cultures in the area were under the impression that the planets, the moving stars, were gods. The Magi would have been instantly convinced that they had discovered a brand new god in the sky, and would have been wild with excitement and concern. Having a new god appear in the sky was something they were completely unprepared for, indeed, something they’d never even imagined could happen.

Why would Uranus have not been known to them before that? Uranus' visibility comes and goes, and it moves around. It is literally the only planet in the sky that has both these qualities. The rest of the known planets also move around, of course, but their visibility always remains relatively consistent. The visibility of many low-magnitude stars also comes and goes, but they always stay in the same place, and so over time it is still pretty easy to confirm their existence and exact position. The ancient Magi would have been able to return again and again to re-study and re-measure and re-examine all the rest of the fixed stars in the zodiac, and over the centuries, every last star could have been verified and re-verified, even those whose visibility fluctuated. But Uranus not only appeared and disappeared, but moved around a lot as well, making it a lot easier for Uranus to have slipped through their screening process. But eventually, since Uranus is, after all, visible to the naked eye at least some of the time, it seems reasonable to assume that the Magi would have noticed it sooner or later.

Their reaction suggests that they did just that on September 16, 1 BC.

Where might the Magi have been when they made their famous sighting? There’s no way for us to know. They could have been anywhere, but if there happened to be Magi living near the Indus River in India (around 68 E 21'17", 27 N 01'39"), they would have observed the alignment sliding right across their horizon.

This location makes sense for many reasons. While the Magi were a tribe of Zoroastrian priests native to Persia or Parthia, they are known to have spread into India. And indeed, legends of the famous Biblical Magi identifies at least one of those travelers as having come from India. And not only has astrology been respected and studied in India for ages, but Vedic scriptures suggest that Uranus was discovered millennia ago by Indian astrologers. Modern Indian astrology (Jyotish), of course, does not currently use Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and for a long time it was assumed that this was simply because India had never discovered the outer planets and didn’t know anything about them. However, through translations of many Vedic texts it is now believed that indeed they did know of their existence, but felt that these planets were too slow moving to have much impact on individuals’ horoscopes.

So, according to India’s records, Hindu astrologers discovered Uranus ages ago. And according to Israel’s records, astrologers from the East saw a strange new moving star in the sky sometime around 1 BC, and concluded from what they saw that a new god had just been born. Coincidence? Let’s consider their response. Imagine how those ancient astrologers would have reacted to discovering a new moving star in the sky — to a new god in heaven. For a good stretch of time after that, all their beliefs, all their assumptions, all their sense of security (not the least of which was their job security), everything they thought they knew about reality itself, would have been in agonizing turmoil. If they’d had skyscrapers, some Magi might have considered jumping. Indeed, their final reaction was only slightly less extreme.

Being professional priests of a sophisticated culture, they would presumably have been well-educated for their day, and so may have known that one small tribe off to the West, in Judea, had prophesies of just such a thing — of a whole new god being born one day ( Isaiah 9:6) — and so those Magi might have considered it well worth their while to go pay the Jews a visit and see just what was going on.

What reason do we have to suspect that Uranus might have been the Magi’s star? The only evidence anyone has for the Star of Bethlehem is the Magi’s reaction — going to search for a newborn god. And when it comes down to it, the possibility that they spotted an unfamiliar new planet fits this reaction better than any other known phenomenon they could have possibly witnessed. Planetary patterns come and go, but new planets had never been discovered before. The discovery of a new planet would have been completely unprecedented, just as their reaction was. So far as we know, this was the only time the Magi ever took a road trip to go find an unknown, newborn god. It seems safe to conclude that they weren’t simply looking for just another newborn king. Royal families in various Middle Eastern countries had to be giving birth to new princes every decade or so (especially considering the high mortality rate of that era), but the Magi never seem to have bothered to pay any of them a visit, much less worshiped them. If this extraordinary behavior was elicited merely from a rare planetary pattern, then other impressive alignments should have elicited similar reactions down through the ages, which does not seem to be the case.
Anonymous Coward
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03/02/2009 01:45 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Thread: Venus The Star Of Bethlehem
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 626539
Portugal
03/02/2009 01:59 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Hmmm... My Anus? WTF?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 362931
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03/02/2009 02:00 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Hmmm... My Anus? WTF?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 626539



I was going to say, wasn't my anus.
Los_Suorovinrac

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03/02/2009 03:17 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
A miracle!:
:kitcyclo1:
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Sure every post I have mentions goat blood...How do you think we get plasma tv's?

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Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:20 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
OP are you suggesting that Christ was born on the 16th sep, or that the ancients saw this unusual astrological event which led their primitive minds to believe a new god had been born.
G. House

User ID: 627460
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03/03/2009 08:25 PM

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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Uranus is not really a "naked eye" object.
"Everybody lies."
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 627504
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03/03/2009 08:27 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
The star of Bethlehem was an angel.

Now you know.
09upuou;ll
User ID: 595776
Bahamas
03/03/2009 08:31 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
the star was actually a ufo. the people back in those days didnt have a name for this flying object. so they described it as what they were used to seeing daily. ufos were described as clouds, chariots, pillars, fire, stars, whirlwind etc back in the ancient days in the bible.
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:34 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Not Bloody likely, try again OP.

bsflag !
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:35 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Good-bye

hi
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:36 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Uranus is not really a "naked eye" object.
 Quoting: G. House

SOO true!!!

It can actually be hard to find at times.

So again...

bsflag
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:38 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
The star of Bethlehem was an angel.

Now you know.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 627504


I'm more inclined to believe that than the Uranus story.
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:40 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Rectum hell, killed 'em!
Anonymous Coward
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03/03/2009 08:45 PM
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Re: The Star of Bethlehem was Uranus
Rectum hell, killed 'em!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 627547

Rectum Hall? Isn't that a skull and bones meeting place?





GLP