In Christian religion and costumes, the star of Bethlehem is known as the astronomical guide followed by the Three Wise Men who welcomed the birth of Jesus.
Throughout history, as scientific research and theories have changed and developed, scientists have come up with numerous and varied hypotheses about what could have actually happened on that fateful day. Great effort has been put into determining what the celestial light that served as a guide to such enigmatic and important characters could have been.
One of the most credited theories that has attracted the most attention is Miguel Gilarte Fernández’s – director of the Astronomical Observatory in Almadén de la Plata, Seville. He suggested that the sudden appearance of a supernova was the reason why the Three Wise Men started their journey towards Bethlehem.
A supernova is an event that occurs upon the death of certain types of stars. Compared to a star’s entire history, the visual appearance of a galactic supernova is very brief, perhaps spanning several months, so that the chances of observing one is roughly once in a lifetime.
Only a tiny fraction of the stars in our universe have the capacity of becoming a supernova, which has made the recording of these phenomena difficult in the past. It is, therefore, very difficult to determine if the star of Bethlehem was indeed the birth of a supernova.
According to another hypothesis, the appearance of the famous star coincided with the appearance of the Halley comet. In 1304, the famous painter Giotto depicted said phenomenon in one of his paintings, awakening theories and ideas about such a possibility. However, the theory was discredited when it was proven that the comet’s appearance occurred twelve years before the birth of Mary’s son.
Nowadays, Dr. Aleks Scholz – who specializes in the development and structure of stars and planets – has raised the possibility of the star of Bethlehem being connected to an astronomical event that involved a planetary alignment instead of a supernova explosion or the passage of a comet.
According to studies conducted by Dr. Scholz, on the date of Jesus’ birth, there were several planetary alignments. Jupiter and Saturn aligned in the year 7 B.C., and between the years 3 and 2 A.C. Saturn aligned itself with Mercury and later on with Venus respectively, and finally, Jupiter aligned itself with Venus and Mercury. The last alignment could have created the phenomenon that led these Three Wise Men from the East to Jesus.
Dr. Scholz’s theory has been very popular among the media and cultural circles since it coincides better with the dates that have been historically associated with Christmas.
To conclude, leaving aside all scientific theories on such a striking event, humanity has always been in favor of finding a guide that would lead us to the truth of our existence and the secrets of the cosmos. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to use this event as a reminder of the importance of following spiritual guidance. Without it, we could not find peace in our hearts – a peace that these three travelers could have possibly found by following Bethlehem’s star.