Weird History
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There's An Actual Theory For The Star Of Bethlehem

December 22, 2020 8.2k views14 items

In December 2020, the internet was abuzz with talk of a so-called "Christmas Star" – a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. During the celestial event, the two planets appeared so close together they looked like a single, bright star to the naked eye. Does that description sound familiar? The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and its proximity to Christmas, understandably drew comparisons to the biblical Star of Bethlehem that guided the wise men to the place of Jesus's birth. 

For centuries, experts and laymen alike have wondered: what was the Star of Bethlehem? Is the Star of Bethlehem the North Star? Are there astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem? While it's unlikely the Star of Bethlehem was a comet like Halley's Comet, there are several theories for what the Star of Bethlehem actually was. The most convincing of these theories might just be a conjunction not unlike our "Christmas Star" of 2020.

  • There's A Historical Record Of A Comet That Could Have Been The Star Of Bethlehem, But It's Unlikely The Comet Would've Been Interpreted As Anything But A Bad Omen

    Photo: an illustrated manuscript from Augsburg / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
  • There Were Actually Several Different Conjunctions Taking Place Around The Time Of Jesus's Reported Birth

    Photo: Zwergelstern / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
  • The Idea The Star Of Bethlehem Was Actually A Great Conjunction Goes Back To At Least The 17th Century


  • There Was A Conjunction Of Jupiter, Saturn, The Moon, And The Sun On April 17, 6 B.C. That Most Closely Matches The Biblical Description Of The Star Of Bethlehem