What Was the Star of Bethlehem Not?

by blackspanielgallery

What was the Star of Bethlehem not? This is far easier to contemplate than trying to determine what the Star of Bethlehem was.

What was the Star of Bethlehem not is far easier to answer than what was the Star of Bethlehem. Indeed, the second question may be impossible to determine. Many efforts have been made with things to consider offered. But those efforts fall short.

First, we must understand that something happened that caught the attention of the Maji. These learned men saw something. The account given by them when they visited Herod was that the star rose in the east, then came to rest. Had it not come to an apparent rest they could not have ever found the place where Jesus was born. So, their account is likely to have an historical basis.

Second, the star must have remained for a long time. The Maji would have first contacted each other, then assembled a caravan. A caravan would have moved slowly. Certainly, they would have had a guard for the precious items given as gifts to Jesus. Herod understood this when he ordered the deaths of all boys in the early years of their lives, not just newborn babies.

So, we would have had a celestial body moving from the east and apparently standing still. Remember, it would have had to maintain its position relative to the Earth all twenty-four hours of the day. The way an object can appear to stand still is to be in a geosynchronous orbit. But a stable orbit must be about the center of the earth, so only orbits over the equator can be geosynchronous. Bethlehem is above forty degrees latitude. This presents a problem.

It Was Not a Planetary Conjunction

There was a planetary conjunction about four years from the estimated year zero.  Close enough to be considered, since we are uncertain exactly when Jesus was born.  A conjunction of two planets is when the planets are so close together as to appear to be one.  The point in the sky becomes brighter than usual.


The problem is planets appear to move as the earth rotates on its axis.  We now understand the Earth is what moves, but that is not important.  There is no place on Earth where we can look up at a conjunction of planets and see a light that does not move.

It Was Not a Comet

Comets orbit the sun on long, elliptical orbits.  They also appear to move as a result of the Earth’s rotation on its axis.  Yes, a comet was likely to visit close to the Earth during the right period.  But appear to stand still it could not.

It Was Not a Supernova

A supernova occurs when a massive star explodes.  Supernovas are bright, and they can sometimes be seen even in daylight.  They were misunderstood years ago. One supernova in 1066 played a role in beliefs at that time, and was thought to be an omen for the Norman invasion of Britain.


But stars are not fixed points in the sky, so neither would be a supernova.

The Star of Bethlehem Was Not an Asteroid

Asteroids come in many sizes, and if one is close enough to the Earth it can appear bright.  The International Space Station can appear bright in the sky at night.  So could a reflective asteroid, especially an icy asteroid.  But an asteroid cannot appear to hover over a single place other than if it were coming right down at a pole.

The Star of Bethlehem Was Not Atmospheric

Objects in the atmosphere can be carried with the Earth.  But, a phenomenon such as ball lightning or glowing gas would have been too low to be seen at a great distance.  And such phenomenon do not last long, certainly not over a year.  A single day would be too short of a period of time.


Mesospheric clouds were unheard of in the time period of Jesus’ birth.  These have only been discovered in the late nineteenth century.  And they are fleeting, so a prolonged appearance would have been unlikely.

What Could the Star of Bethlehem Have Been?

God can do things we cannot understand.  Was it something God caused to be there? 


Another possibility is angels.  What do we really know about angels?  A key question is how large, or small, is an angel?  In Revelations the vision included an angel standing on the sun.  In order to see an angel on the sun the angel must have been enormous in size.  Of course, Revelations is symbolism, and should not be taken as proof an angel is extremely large.  Could a single angel hover for months over a single point?  Or, could one or more choirs of angels do so?  We cannot know if this happened, but it certainly is possible. 


Do angels glow?  A better question is can angels glow.  If they possess energy is it like energy with which we are familiar? 


The spirit world is probably not bound by the laws of physics.  It is beyond our understanding.


Alas, we must be content with an understanding of what the Star of Bethlehem was not.  Ask what it was will only cause frustration.


Could God have created a unique phenomena?  Yes. 


Can science explain the Star of Bethlehem?  No.


This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The introduction image in public domain, and derived using a NASA image.  The product is on Zazzle, and is our own. 

Understanding What the Earth Could Not Support

Updated: 05/13/2019, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 05/23/2019

There was a conjunction between Jupiter and Venus about that time, and a bright comet did make a close approach. But neither would appear to stand still. As for spiritual energy, there is much we do not know, including whether it is visible to all or a select group, or possibly no one.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/23/2019

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and product lines. Do you know of any ancient records from about the time of the Star of Bethlehem that mention such a bright, fixed celestial object? If spiritual energy is involved, then wouldn't it be possible that it was seen only by those who were meant to observe and react?

blackspanielgallery on 05/15/2019

Dark matter should be possible to convert to energy, since it is matter. We have two possibilities, weakly interacting miniature particles, (WIMPS) or large black hole type objects (MACHOS). WIMPS are the leading candidate. There is more dark matter in the universe than regular matter. The evidence is galaxies attract each other with greater gravity than they should. We believe a cocoon of dark matter exists about a galaxy, which makes sense since light from stars can exert a force and push small particles. We believe filaments of dark matter form a web connecting galaxies. We believe dark matter is everywhere, even in the room where you are now sitting. And we gravitation lenses where no matter otherwise appears, no glow or anything. But, we have not detected any individual dark matter particle, certainly no experiments have been performed on dark matter particles.

Dark energy is a repulsive energy. Imagine anti-gravity as a possibility. We see repulsion in electricity of like charges, but now we are seeing what looks, or acts, like anti-gravity. Unfortunately, it is at the farthest reaches of the universe, so study will be slow.

Science must have an open mind approach, so if something defies Einstein's equation it would then be modified. as for now, it is still accepted.

A real answer is currently beyond current knowledge in physics.

frankbeswick on 05/15/2019

If dark matter is truly a form of matter, but dark energy is something else, can Einstein's
equation of matter and energy expressed in E=mc squared survive unmodified? Could dark matter be convertible into energy as normal matter is? If so are there any thoughts on applying Einstein's famous equation to dark energy?

blackspanielgallery on 05/15/2019

Dark matter is some sort of matter, and it does have gravity. Its gravity can bend light, but it does not otherwise interact with light such as absorption, reflection, or refraction. Dark matter is probably real matter, just different in its properties.
Dark energy is another thing altogether. If you throw a rock up, gravity will bring it down. If you launch a rocket up, gravity may just slow it if you propel it fast enough, a gradual slowing. The universe should be slowing, and for years it was so. Now, two very distant supernovas are accelerating faster, with no apparent propulsion. The acceleration is a mystery, something is causing the acceleration. Since we know nothing of why, we call it dark energy.
The two terms are not related, but often are discussed together. Dark matter we have ideas about, dark energy is a mystery. Suggestions of gravity from another universe are the kinds of far out things that have been mentioned.
Hope this brief explanation helps.

frankbeswick on 05/15/2019

When we use the terms dark energy and dark matter,are we not assuming that these realities are matter and energy?.Might they not be something completely different from whatever we know?

blackspanielgallery on 05/15/2019

No, but we currently have an unknown energy called dark energy that physics cannot explain. It does not fit any known form of energy.

frankbeswick on 05/15/2019

Have you ever studied the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, whose view of nature involved postulating a spiritual energy called radiant energy?He wrote several books,including The Phenomenon of Man.

blackspanielgallery on 05/14/2019

Good point. I would not rule out spiritual energy.

frankbeswick on 05/14/2019

Think of the transfiguration, where Jesus appeared radiant.This was an example of a kind of religious experience in which the subject experiences radiant light and an overwhelming sense of goodness.Maybe the star of Bethlehem was akin to this. Who knows?

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