Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Tis the season for supernovas?

  1. Dec 23, 2003 #1
    Tis the season for ....supernovas?

    OK kids! Iv'e seen SF stories and quasi scientific testaments ( HAHA) that the star of bethelem could have been a supernova. Some accounts from chinese astronomers and arabic astronomers "seem" to corilate the linkage as far as dates. Is there any proof to these claims? You have 48 hrs. to answer!!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  4. Dec 28, 2003 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Here's one that Cecil didn't mention, although it's been discussed a lot.

    In the few decades BCE, stargazers were concerned because the Sun, which had for centuries been in the constellation of Aries at spring equinox, was found to be moving into the next sign back - Pisces. The way they knew this was to carefully observe the stars that rose just before the Sun on that day ("We have seen his star at its rising"), and measure as best they could the angle the sun made with them as it rose.

    The star originally observed by the Magi (Persian astrologers) would then have been perhaps the brightest star in Pisces. The movement of the Sun from the old sign to the new would indicate that a world revolution was to occur, centered on the land dedicated to the sign Pisces, that is the Holy Land. So they went to the most powerful sovereign (= brightest star) in that land to inquire.

    All of this could be history. What happened aftr (the star "going before them") was either a miracle or a fairy tale, depending on your point of view, and can certainly not be explained naturally.

    Of course that would bring them to Bethlehem in the spring. But there is strong evidence that the early church held all the main events of Jesus' life, including his birth, to have occured at Passover, that is in the Spring. It was only later that the church transferred the Nativity to December 25, partly just to get it away from Easter, and partly to take over the pagan feast of the reborn Sun.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook