Being a Christian, the first thing that came to my mind was a question. Could these programs tell me what happened in the sky when Christ was born? Could I prove there really was a Christmas star? If so, what was it?
Some past suggestions and speculation of the Christmas star were that it was a comet, an exploding star called a nova or supernova, or a conjunction of planets. A conjunction of planets is when the planets appear to merge. Since their orbital paths are millions of miles apart, they don’t physically meet, but appear to do so in the sky. Were any of these things the Christmas star?
I always enjoyed searching for information. In the past I’d done so using books. Now, I could use my computer. To have the opportunity to use mathematically precise computer programs was a blessing. The movements of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars in the sky don’t change, so the computer programs would be accurate. To have the opportunity to find out about the celestial objects of 2000 years ago was going to be a challenge, and I loved challenges. This was going to be fun. I was going to find out if there really was a Christmas star. Consequently, I spent much time on the computer almost every night.
Did I find out what happened? I sure did!
It was an exciting journey back into history, for not only did I have to find the event set which was predicted and anticipated by the ancient wise men/astronomers/astrologers/ cosmologists/magi/priests, I had to learn more about them and that time in history. How did they interpret what they saw in the sky? What was symbolic to them? Why would they use the event of some celestial happening to predict the birth of the greatest God to be born in the universe?
After reading through many books on ancient history and archeology, I learned that astronomers at that time used dawn for all celestial observations. Therefore, I had to set all calculations during the computer searches for dawn in the local time zone of Bethlehem while using the correct latitude and longitude for that location. I consistently used six o’clock in the morning.
In His original creation, God set the wheels in motion for everything to happen at the correct time and place in the future, perhaps millions of years later. To realize what He accomplished is humbling. The intelligence and magnificence of our Heavenly Father is so great, it’s hard to comprehend.
In the Holy Bible, Galatians, 4:41* is the statement: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.”
This tells us that His Son would be born when everything was perfect for that event. And it was. At that time in history, the known world was at a peace enforced by the Roman armies. People could travel safely and did. That enabled the wise men with their astronomers and entourages to travel from their homelands to Bethlehem in Judea.
To these astronomers, who erroneously believed every object that existed in the sky was a god, this heavenly birth announcement was for the first God to be born on Earth. In addition, their interpretations told He would be the most powerful God in the universe. This was a God that would change their way of thinking and the religions of the world. The wise men became the first gentiles to worship Him.
To the ancients, everyone single object in the sky was erroneously considered to be a god and held symbolic meaning. Their powerful Sun god had no equal. They had no idea it was related in any way to the myriad points of light in the sky, other suns (stars) in the far distances of our galaxy. Considering the Sun as both powerful and dependable, the orderly path it took over the years gave it a characteristic they determined to be the source of all authority. When interpretations of celestial events were made, if the Sun was involved, it meant there was approval of the event by all the gods of their universe.
Their Moon god was considered the source of all intelligence, knowledge, keeper of the calendar and, when seen with the Sun, meant health, happiness, greetings and established the foundations of the emperor, king, or ruler.
After the Sun and Moon, the most important gods to them were those which made up the “wandering stars,” now known as planets. Every motion, interaction, and happening in the sky meant something to the ancient astronomers. They used their symbolism to interpret what happened in the sky, each of their celestial gods declaring what was to be.
When our almighty and all-knowing God created the universe, he produced every piece of every subatomic particle, atom, star, nebula, galaxy, dark matter, and all that existed, visible and invisible. At that instant of creation, the laws of nature that God ordained in his infinite wisdom were set into motion, along with every celestial object. They continued moving in what many would consider meaningless motions. But He knew and preordained them to move in ways that at the time His Son, Jesus Christ, was going to be born on Earth, the heavens announced not only His birth, but also His birthplace.
It is a miracle that it happened when the birth and the birthplace could be determined correctly by the astronomers of that time. Like the Babylonians before them, they were so mathematically advanced they could predict the motions of the heavenly bodies years in the future. That gave their countrymen time to decide what to do about the birth of the new God. They had to choose who would travel up to a year in advance or more to reach the birthplace of the new God. What supplies would be needed for all personnel traveling with their entourage? What gifts they would take? How would the gifts be presented within the protocols of their culture? What would the presentation mean for the future of the presenters and their countries? To ponder the questions was probably mind boggling to them.
The emperors, kings, and rulers chosen as representatives of their countries to make a presentation to the greatest God of the universe were most likely very apprehensive. Not only was there probably heightened anxiety and anticipation of solving the problems that would arise during the preparation and duration of their journeys, they had to make sure that everything they were going to do during the actual gift presentation would be correct. What would they wear? Would they decorate their skin as they did in the temples of their homelands? Should the main dignitary or a priest offer the gifts? Should they bow or prostrate themselves before Him? Since this God could greatly affect the future of their nation and the outcome of wars, everything had to be perfect.
These men, the best their countries had to offer, were going to be eye witnesses to the greatest event to ever occur on Earth. They were going to actually see the God that was born during the most magnificent and largest birth announcement in the history of mankind.
The chapters of the book include the Introduction, Biblical Records of the Birth, Basic Astronomy Concepts, Symbolism by Civilization, The Ancient Astronomers, The Christmas Star Events, Computer Evidence, References, Computer Programs Utilized, Glossary, and Endnotes. An index is available for hard copies.
Using 98-book and periodical references and 65-computer programs, the Christmas star event was proven and spectacular. What an honor and blessing it has been for me to experience the discovery and knowledge of what happened at the birth of Jesus Christ.
Here is one of my original sketches, later refined and used in the book. The text discusses the position of the Sun, Moon and Earth during a solar eclipse. The ancients used their symbolism to interpret the meanings of two dawn solar eclipses that occurred within 30-days of one another. One was a total solar eclipse which fully blocked the sun. The other was a partial solar eclipse. The eclipses helped announce the birth of Christ in a progression of ten unusual and magnificent events.
One paragraph from the book reads: “The sixth significant event of Jesus’ birth announcement occurred on September 1st, 0004 when a spectacular solar eclipse occurred close to Mars, Venus, and Saturn while the Sun was partially eclipsing the slow moving Saturn. Venus, Mars and Saturn were still at opposition and extremely brilliant. The Moon then moved in front of the Sun and totally eclipsed it. To have the Sun eclipsing Saturn and the Moon eclipsing the Sun simultaneously is an extremely rare event at any time, let alone for a dawn sky. It did not matter that the Sun’s brilliance blocked out their Saturn god, for the astronomers knew where Saturn was. As the Moon blackened the Sun and blocked the sunlight, Saturn’s image would have brightened to allow it to appear like a jewel of light beaconing for attention in the sky.”
Note: During this investigative journey, I spent several years researching the historical and archeological history of 2,000-years ago. My research has taken me to many libraries. I have used the resources of my local public library here in Zanesville, Ohio and found the reference personnel gracious in their offers to obtain books from elsewhere for my use. My studies at Hiram College (BA) and Ohio University (MA) were implemented by training with the World Engineers Joint Council in London, England where I studied coordinate indexing, operations, research procedural steps, information systems, syntactical problems, information retrieval thesauri, relationships of knowledge, information, and data under the auspices of the Information Systems Research Division of Battelle Memorial Institute out of Columbus, Ohio.
Having studied astronomy in college, I taught astronomy as part of Earth Science in high school for almost 30-years, I found my students fascinated about the sky above them. I have collected astronomy materials and data since high school, much of it from NASA.
I wrote the geology and hydrology section of the Top Secret Mekong River Project book for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), Research & Development Center – Thailand, living in that country 4-years. I was editor of the National Earth Science Teachers Newsletter (East Central Section), presented workshops at the Science Education Council of Ohio and other regional meetings. Having been recognized by Hiram College with their Annual Award of Outstanding Achievement, other awards have primarily been for teaching or technology. A few include National Science Foundation fellowships, honorary societies, AT&T Ohio Science Teacher of Year, Governor’s Fellow, Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (East Central Section, National Association of Geoscience Teachers), entries in Who’s Who with four different organizations, etc.
* Scripture quotation is taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version, Copyright 1981, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used by permission.
Irene Baron currently resides in Zanesville, Ohio. A former teacher and current pilot, Irene worked with the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) in Thailand while employed by Battelle Memorial Institute and as an aerial photographer. Recently retired, she is spending time painting icons for her angel alphabet book and finishing the second novel in a Christian paranormal suspense series. She is a member of Coburn UM Church and has one daughter who lives in Delaware. Irene is currently working on a non-fiction book about this topic and publishers may reach the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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