Was there really a star of Bethlehem... | Almanac.com

Was there really a star of Bethlehem...

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Was there really a star of Bethlehem that guided the three wise men to the birthplace of Jesus?
Nobody knows for sure. A comet? A supernova? The Chinese reported two novas in 4 and 6 B.C. Several striking planetary conjunctions also took place within ten years of the chronological point now taken as the beginning of the Christian era. A triple conjunction in early 6 B.C., in which Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn stood at the points of a triangle, has often been mentioned as a possible explanation for the star. Prior to that, in 7 B.C., Jupiter and Saturn were within three degrees of each other for eight months, and three times during that period, they passed within one degree of each other. Five years later, on June 17, 2 B.C., the bright planets Venus and Jupiter would have appeared to observers in Babylon to have merged just before setting in the general direction of Bethlehem to the west. To the best of our knowledge, Christ was born in what we now know as 5 B.C.