Added by greenfieldc
3rd Aug 2019

A Sermon at Seething?

Norwich Astro were given a surprise last Friday when member Frank turned up to give his first talk for the regulars. 

Many visitors will have met Frank and his wife Carolyn on the observing pads, and looked through their telescopes and binoculars, but will have been completely unaware that by day Frank is the Revd Frank Cliff from Great Yarmouth. Frank turned up last Friday wearing his “dog collar” to share his insights on the mystery that has puzzled astronomers for many, many years; “what was the object that is referred to as the star of Bethlehem?”

The subject of much research, Frank’s talk touched on geography, historical markers, politics of the time and even a little astrology to provide the backdrop to this astronomical conundrum. 

Just who were the ‘Wise Men’, where had they travelled from, and what astronomical object(s) guided their search?

Having established an approximate time frame, Frank was able to program astronomical software to observe what the skies over Bethlehem looked like for the dates in question. No long period comets are thought to have been visible at the time, but the software did show up a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. 

Could the two gas giant planets have been the ‘star’ of Bethlehem? No one can be certain, but a conjunction is a plausible explanation.


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Image: SH-157 Claw Nebula

by Martin Stirland