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The Star of Bethlehem story to be explored at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff

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"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East or at its rising and have come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born."

~ The Gospel of Matthew

Flagstaff, Arizona - Something odd is happening at the Lowell Observatory this month: rational science and magical thinking are going on a star date. The destination is Earth, zero B.C.

Now, while skeptics would argue, probably pretty successfully, that the star of Bethlehem is a myth since, after all, Christmas itself is a morph of pre-existing pagan traditions in the winter. However, in the Bible, the "Christmas Star" revealed the birth of Jesus as revealed to magi led to Bethlehem, as told in the nativity story in the Gospel of Matthew.

According to Wikipedia: it is written that ... "Many Christians see the star as a miraculous sign to mark the birth of the Christ (or messiah). Some theologians claimed that the star fulfilled a prophecy, known as the Star Prophecy. Astronomers have made several attempts to link the star to unusual astronomical events, such as a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, a comet or a supernova ... Many modern scholars doubt the historical accuracy of the story and argue that the star was a pious fiction created by the author of the Gospel of Matthew."

Nevertheless, planetarium shows find it a big draw during the Christmas season. No matter how vivid of a metaphor people might like to find it for Christmas Day, there has been some theorizing by historians of Christianity that the visits of the magi took place some time after Jesus was born since there wasn't a whole lot of beaming to locales back then: For example, on such Wiki write-up suggests the visit of the magi was connected with Jesus several months after he was born, for example on Epiphany on January 6.

Other more scientific and more rational explanations are also included on the Wikipedia site here.

But there you have it. If you can go to the event in Flagstaff, you are now suitably armed to ask some excellent questions when the Star of Bethlehem program goes on at the observatory December 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23 (7 p.m.). Telescope viewing and other multimedia indoor programs will also be available.

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