Take the 2-minute tour ×
Astronomy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for astronomers and astrophysicists. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In the Christian tradition the first Christians are believed to be three wise men who followed the star of Bethlehem to the stable where Jesus was supposed to be born. Is it with some accuracy known if this is an actual star and if so will I be able to see that star during Christmas in North-western Europe?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Donald.McLean Dec 20 '13 at 20:39

  • This question does not appear to be about astronomy, within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
This question proves difficult to answer since you must believe in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew; the only place where a mention of said star is made. Since we can't be sure of it's validity everything else is speculation. –  Eduardo Serra Dec 20 '13 at 15:35
1  
This question appears to be off-topic because the subject matter is both subjective and disputed. Feel free to bring this up on meta. –  Donald.McLean Dec 20 '13 at 20:39

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The most recent suggestions are that it was a nova or supernova, however no one really knows what the object was. The verbatim records describe it as a star, though it is not certain whether or not it was a "true" star (in those times, a star being any object that had a fixed right ascension and declination). Perhaps it was just a planet.

In any case I suspect it is unlikely you will be able to see it with your naked eye today. Even if you could, its true identity has certainly been lost in history.

Some references for further reading (click on the "Full Printable Article (PDF/Postscript)" link for a PDF of the articles):

share|improve this answer
1  
This answer is misleading, it's not known if the event happened at all, let alone say it was a supernova or anything else. We must keep religion and astronomy separated. Religious scholars can't even agree on a date for Jesus birth and for non-christians the story of three kings who followed a star is nothing but fiction. –  Eduardo Serra Dec 20 '13 at 15:41
    
@eduardoserra did you read any of the links provided here? Especially the last is a decent hypothesis where it would, if it exists. I specifically asked the question here and not on skeptics.se or christianity.se i am specifically interested in the perspective of an astronomer. This is exactly the answer I was looking for. Thanks –  Andra Dec 20 '13 at 18:37
1  
I'm happy you found the answer you were looking for, however, I think we shouldn't look for explanations of events that are written in religious books more than an archeologist should seek for fossils of a Satyr: - Isiah 13:21: But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. - Isiah 34:14: The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. –  Eduardo Serra Dec 20 '13 at 20:41
1  
@Moriarty When you start looking for the celestial cause of a mythical event, you're doing theology, not science. –  Marc Dec 23 '13 at 4:44
1  
If such an event really happened, there would have been other references. Other cultures would have noticed. None did. That's pretty strong evidence that the Biblical event never occurred in the real world. –  Marc Dec 24 '13 at 15:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.