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?
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):
- What was the star of Bethlehem?, S. Hagar (1918)
- Interpretations of the Star of Bethlehem, E. Little (1968)
- Can we find the Star of Bethlehem in Far Eastern Records?, C. Cullen (1979)
- The Star of Bethlehem: a type Ia/Ic supernova in the Andromeda galaxy?, F. Tipler (2005)