Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Star of Bethlehem: Astronomy suggests a possible explanation!

If you're up early tomorrow (ie: an hour before dawn) and have a clear eastern horizon, you could see an extremely close conjunction of the two brightest objects in the sky (not counting the Moon, of course!) Jupiter and Venus will  almost appear as a single object, spectacularly bright and twinkly because of their position just above the horizon. It has been calculated that a similar conjunction took place around the Spring of 6 BC, suggesting that the 'Wise Men' (Astrologers) may have seen this rare phenomenon as a portent of a significant event...

There was a beautiful crescent Moon this morning, with the recent ray crater Copernicus very prominent. You could make out (just!) the four central peaks and the terraced inner walls of this spectacular lunar feature.

The very impressive crater in image 2 is Clavius, the third largest visible from Earth.

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