It’s an astronomical mystery. A strange star is claimed to have appeared at the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. This site is an investigation of the story found in the Biblical Gospel of Matthew, a story often called the ‘Star of Bethlehem.’ It brings the words of Roman and Jewish historians alongside the visions of ancient prophets. It mixes “modern” mathematicians with murderous turmoil in the Roman imperial court. It combines all these with astronomical facts which no one disputes. And it concludes that the star was a real event. Come solve this age-old mystery for yourself…

Part 1: Setting the Stage

JOHANNES KEPLER paved the way for rediscovery of the Star. He puzzled out the math which drives the heavens. He even used his formulae to search for the Star we seek. But unlike we, Kepler had no computer. With software incorporating Kepler’s equations, we can animate ancient skies over the Mid East with great precision. When we do that, the sky comes alive…

THE BIBLE blasts worship of the stars. It even declares the death penalty for star-abuse! So, by seeking the Star of Bethlehem, are we doing something the Bible itself forbids? Actually, the Bible encourages attention to the stars, but only attention of a very specific type…

NEARLY EVERYTHING in the sky has been proposed as the Star of Bethlehem at one time or another. Why? Because investigators often grant surprisingly little regard to clues found in the Bible. But, a close reading of the Book of Matthew uncovers nine specific features of the Star. These qualifications become primary tools in our investigation…

THE NINE CHARACTERISTICS of the Star eliminate most celestial objects as candidates. They just don’t measure up. We quickly see what the Star cannot have been. These ancient clues narrow our search dramatically and yield an hypothesis we can test…

Explore Part 1: Setting the Stage

Part 2: The Starry Dance

OUR INVESTIGATION KNOCKS OUT most celestial objects as candidates for the Star. But there is one class of stars that might still match the rigorous tests we’ve extracted from the Book of Matthew: “wandering stars.” That will be our hypothesis…

THE BOOK OF REVELATION is a puzzle. An enchanting puzzle, to be sure. And a tantalizing puzzle to one conducting an astronomical investigation, because John’s book is full of star imagery. While some of John’s vision is enigmatic, some of what he writes unfolds to us with the help of Kepler’s Laws…

HUNDREDS OF PLANETARIA worldwide present “Star of Bethlehem” Christmas shows. Most don’t feel comfortable using the Bible as the center of their performances, so they miss much of what we are finding. But one celestial event they nearly always include is a show stopper from an astronomer’s perspective. The brightest event of our Magus’ career occurred in 2 BC…

CAN A STAR STOP? Can and did. In the Southern sky, over the little town of Bethlehem…

Explore Part 2: The Starry Dance

Part 3: The Day of the Cross

SOME ARE OBVIOUS, SOME OBSCURE. But there are many clues to the date of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth: violent Roman history, the Jewish calendar, startling ancient prophecies, a somber night sky. Each adds data for our investigation. We can deduce an important clue from the gospel records: Jesus must have died in a year when the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan fell on a Friday…

IT WAS DANGEROUS to be Roman if you knew the wrong people. Tiberius Caesar ruled the Empire during the time of Christ. He was not a hesitant or forgiving man. A plot to take his throne was discovered—the plot bathed Italy in blood—and it appears to have had a role in the execution of Jesus…

FAR FROM JERUSALEM a Jewish exile remained true. True to his people. True to his god. True to the land of his birth. The Bible records his mysterious vision: an angel speaking of the death of Messiah. And this vision, which at first seems obscure, can be gently pressed to reveal secrets—the timing of an execution to occur centuries later…

PETER WAS UP–it was time to speak. He had to address the rowdy crowd. A strange scene was unfolding. It was less than two months after the crucifixion. Worshipers from dozens of nations were in Jerusalem for a Jewish holiday. Suddenly, the disciples of Jesus began praising God, but in out-of-towners’ languages! Peter stood, and he used the sky as he explained…

STARS ARE ANCHORS for historians. Scholars dance when ancient texts describe the sky. The heavens are so predictable that a description of the sky in a text often enables precise dating of ancient events. Our last clue for the day when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified comes from the sky. And it’s the clincher…

Explore Part 3: Day of the Cross

Conclusion: What Does This Mean?

IF THE BIBLE IS TRUE, God has given signs to men throughout history. There is a common response by those who see wondrous things. We often draw near to understand more fully. That is what the Magi did when they saw the Star. The rediscovered Star is a sign to us today. So, we draw near to learn its meaning…

IF THE STAR was a natural event, does that mean it was not a miracle? Perhaps just the opposite. For, if the stars were arranged to create a sign, that arrangement is as old as time. A Star which is part of the orderly natural universe is a Clockwork Star. A sign put in place before men walked the Earth…

Explore Conclusion: What does this mean?