Eastbourne, East Sussex BN20 9HT
The David Godfrey Lecture – The Star of Bethlehem – David Hughes – Emeritus Prof. Astronomy Sheffield University
Tradition has it that a bright star guided the wise men to Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem. But was it a star or some other astronomical phenomenon? In 1976, David wrote a book [The Star of Bethlehem Mystery] explaining the biblical and astronomical clues as to the physical nature of the Star of Bethlehem. His conclusion was that the wise men had predicted and seen a close approach of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. This was the sign that a new king of the Jews had been born in Israel.
Other explanations of the star concern comets, new stars, and lunar conjunctions. One tentative conclusion of the Jupiter–Saturn hypothesis is that Jesus was born on Tuesday 15 September 7 BC. Another Biblical possibility is that St Matthew made the whole thing up!