Science

Scientists Still Wondering About The Christmas Star

By Rodney Rafols , Dec 19, 2016 10:44 PM EST

Christmas is almost near. For many people of the world, it is a time to celebrate. It is also a time to reflect, as scientists are still wondering about the Christmas star.

The Christmas star, also known as the Star of Bethlehem, decorates many homes in December. It is often seen on top of Christmas trees. While there is much religious significance to it, scientists are still wondering what the star actually was.

In the Bible, it has been recorded that a star led the wise men to the manger. For many years people have been speculating what the star is. Some say it might actually be a former star, and it has exploded into a supernova.

The supernova theory is one of the most popular ones. Another theory is that it might have been a comet. The Bible records that the star followed the wise men until it came to rest on the manger. This is one indication that it might have been a comet, as proponents of this theory say.

Caroline Simpson, an Astronomy professor at Florida International University, looks at some of the theories about the star. One theory is that it could be a stationary object. It is likely not a shooting star then, according to FIU News. The star is said to have been visible for days and even weeks, so a shooting star could not have lasted that long either.

A comet has been ruled out as well. Comets can seem to be motionless, but even back then comets have been known and documented. A comet is also seen as a foreboding of something bad. Jesus' birth has been seen as one of hope, so a comet would have been an ill-suited choice to announce it.

Many are still looking at a possible nova or supernova that could have happened at the time. A supernova would have been bright, and would not have been a permanent event. It would have likely disappeared after a few weeks. However, the supernova that did appear at the time was at a different direction than where the wise men have seen the star, as Phys Org reports.

Another explanation is a planetary conjunction. This is when the planets are aligned that they would appear to be almost together. This can create an illusion of having one bright star in the sky.

Simpson has said that much of the theories out are still speculation. It might still take time before scientists actually find out what the star of Bethlehem was. Scientists are still wondering about the Christmas star as it is still viewed by many as a symbol of hope. Astronomers have also seen a low mass companion near a star.

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