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Immaculate Conception
Posted: 10 December 2007 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Mriana - 23 July 2007 02:14 PM

  Venus is of course being the bright “star” we see around the Winter Solitice/Christmas every year.

UPs! Take care. When catholics should know about the immaculate conception, should we ‘science lovers’ don’t know about stars and planets?

Venus has not a yearly regularity, it is much longer. It moves in the same direction around the sun as the earth. Venus’ period is about one and half year I think, (too lazy to look it up now), so it cannot be at the same place every year. It is in fact ‘morning star’ now. Look to the east in the early morning and you can’t miss it.

Maybe you mean Sirius? It is a bright star near Orion, and clearly visible at winter evenings.

GdB

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Posted: 10 December 2007 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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No, the brightest “star” around this time is Venus and yes it does move like everything else.  I do not mean the dogstar Sirius.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 10 December 2007 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I like disagreements such as these because then I go investigate. The answers I find normally broaden my horizon.
From my friend - Wikipedia

Venus (pronounced /ˈviːnəs/) is the second-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. It is the brightest natural object in the night sky, except for the Moon, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6.

Although all planetary orbits are elliptical, Venus is the closest to circular, with an eccentricity of less than 1%. When Venus lies between the Earth and the Sun, a position known as ‘inferior conjunction’, it makes the closest approach to Earth of any planet, lying at a distance of about 40 million km. The planet reaches inferior conjunction every 584 days, on average.

If viewed from above the Sun’s north pole, all of the planets are orbiting in a counter-clockwise direction; but while most planets also rotate counter-clockwise, Venus rotates clockwise in “retrograde” rotation. The question of how Venus came to have a slow, retrograde rotation was a major puzzle for scientists when the planet’s rotation period was first measured. When it formed from the solar nebula, Venus would have had a much faster, prograde rotation, but calculations show that over billions of years, tidal effects on its dense atmosphere could have slowed down its initial rotation to the value seen today.[33][34]

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Posted: 10 December 2007 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Mriana - 10 December 2007 07:48 AM

No, the brightest “star” around this time is Venus and yes it does move like everything else.  I do not mean the dogstar Sirius.

But you said ‘every year’.

He, not so important. I think we agree that she is beautiful. Makes you feel small it you realise how big and empty the solar system is. And that is all made for us to enjoy.  wink

And Zarcus: I was close, isn’t it? 584/365 = 1.6, so about one and half year…

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Posted: 10 December 2007 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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GdB,

Isn’t the 584 the point of inferior conjunction?

“Conjunction is a term used in positional astronomy and astrology. It means that, as seen from some place (usually the Earth), two celestial bodies appear near one another in the sky. The event is also sometimes known as an appulse.” - wikipedia

Unless I am misunderstanding, this doesn’t mean that Venus (planet - which appears to be Mriana’s point), was not the brightest star in the evening sky at the time of the supposed birth of Jesus.

As in this idea:

“Conjunctions of planets occurred throughout the years mentioned, but the one most often cited as a good possibility for the Christmas Star is the one which occurred on June 17, 2 BC. On this date, Venus and Jupiter appeared so close together in the evening sky, at a tiny 6 arcseconds apart, that they would have appeared to be one very bright star. Venus shone at -4.3 and Jupiter at -1.8 as they appeared to merge in the constellation Leo. This would have been a significant sign for ancient astrologers, who were viewed as scientists in those days, reading the heavens. Leo was the ruler constellation, and this impressive conjunction would have certainly been noticed by the wise men of the time.”

There is also mention of supernova and comets, but this event would have appeared to be most like a star, maybe.

But, yes you were indeed close and because of your back and forth I learned something.

[ Edited: 10 December 2007 09:43 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 10 December 2007 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Folks, anyway the story of the Star of Bethlehem only occurs in one of the Gospels (Matthew), not in the earlier ones of Mark and Luke. Further, the story makes no sense: Jesus’s birth would have been a nonevent. It is certainly a historical fiction.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I was under the impression that when expanding on the story of Jesus’ birth the author may have found a correlating event to add to the story. It would make for a dramatic underpinning that was documented to some extent and recognized by the educated authorities of the time.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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zarcus - 10 December 2007 10:10 AM

I was under the impression that when expanding on the story of Jesus’ birth the author may have found a correlating event to add to the story. It would make for a dramatic underpinning that was documented to some extent and recognized by the educated authorities of the time.

Nah. You have to remember anyway that that story likely didn’t get written until the late first century. Nobody would have remembered what star might have been visible a hundred years earlier on some particular day (the date of which is never actually mentioned).

There is no report of any particular astronomical event around that time anyhow.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I’m not entirely sure of that Doug. Of course they wouldn’t have to point to a specific day, that day is seen from the perspective of what we know now. My point is that even 100 years later, a couple of generations, the story would be remembered and likely documented somehow, which the authorities would have been aware of. In this way they were only creating a correlation to give an even greater impact, in a way, trying to add credibility to their claims. If indeed astrologers were considered the scientist of the time, and their ideas shared with the more enlightened crowed then I would imagine something like the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter would have held special significance. It was only later when creating the miracle of Jesus that the significance would have been given new meaning.

[ Edited: 10 December 2007 11:08 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 10 December 2007 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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zarcus - 10 December 2007 11:02 AM

I’m not entirely sure of that Doug. Of course they wouldn’t have to point to a specific day, that day is seen from the perspective of what we know now. My point is that even 100 years later, a couple of generations, the story would be remembered and likely documented somehow, which the authorities would have been aware of. In this way they were only creating a correlation to give an even greater impact, in a way, trying to add credibility to their claims. If indeed astrologers were considered the scientist of the time, and their ideas shared with the more enlightened crowed then I would imagine something like the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter would have held special significance. It was only later when creating the miracle of Jesus that the significance would have been given new meaning.

100 years in those days was more than a couple of generations—more like three or four generations. At any rate, there is no evidence of any authorities of the time being aware of which supposed astronomical event was mentioned in Matthew. (Indeed, as I said before, there’s no evidence for anyone noticing any astronomical event around that time).

This sort of story is a common trope—that great events were accompanied by astronomical phenomena. It’s the same with the Magi or “wise men” (actually the Magi were priests from the Median tribe known for their magic).

Clearly there is no way to “follow a star”, and it’s absurd to suppose that a handful of Median priests would wander around the desert because of an astronomical event. The whole thing is a rhetorical trope, supposed to make the birth of Jesus (in fact a total historical nonevent) into something that was blessed by the heavens and the powerful magicians of the day.

All the rest is just mythmaking.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I thought that in certain interpretations the Magi were also astrologers? In one thing I read they are referred to as priest-astrologers, and I would think magician may go with that.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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zarcus - 10 December 2007 12:37 PM

I thought that in certain interpretations the Magi were also astrologers? In one thing I read they are referred to as priest-astrologers, and I would think magician may go with that.

Right—they were involved in the various hocus-pocus sorts of cults one found in the area. It did involve astrology. The point of the story is to say that the heavens and powerful magic makers noticed Jesus’s birth. It’s a transparent fiction.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Doug is right and there are several things in the OT and NT that involve astrology in the Bible, not just the magi.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 11 December 2007 12:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith” date=“1197326986]There is no report of any particular astronomical event around that time anyhow.

I object, my honour!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_of_bethlehem#An_Astronomical_Picture_or_Sign

It probably was pasted into the story later, of course, but because of the date (2 BC), the possible astrological meaning and the parallels with the story, I find it quite convincing. I presume the story was bent to fit the astrological constellation.

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Posted: 11 December 2007 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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GdB - 11 December 2007 12:27 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_of_bethlehem#An_Astronomical_Picture_or_Sign

It probably was pasted into the story later, of course, but because of the date (2 BC), the possible astrological meaning and the parallels with the story, I find it quite convincing. I presume the story was bent to fit the astrological constellation.

If you want to find an astronomical event, of course you can find one. Planetary conjunctions happen all the time. But by “astronomical event” I mean one that actually followed what is described in the Bible rather than in some modern-day apologist’s fantasy. (Which is what I take that wiki quote to be).

If the author of Matthew had intended to speak of a planetary triple conjunction, he could easily have said so. However, the passage in Matthew talks about a single star. (And I seriously doubt the author of Matthew was any sort of expert in astronomy anyway, which one would have to have been to make the sort of calculation necessary to find a conjunction a century in the past). For this to be something localizable to a single person at a single time, it would presumably have had to either be a supernova or a comet. No such supernova or cometary events are reported at that time.

One should also add that the date of 2 BC is not encouraging, either. IIRC Jesus is believed to have been born around 4BC. Allowing for an error of +/- a few years in either direction from year zero, we have a lot of time to play with. But at any rate 2 BC is probably off by a couple of years either way.

To repeat, this is a transparent fantasy.

[ Edited: 11 December 2007 06:04 AM by dougsmith ]
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