An Important August 2 B.C.E. Conjunction
Commentary for December 11, 2005 — Perhaps Not so Important!
Question: I have a very interesting idea about the Jupiter-Venus conjunction on August 12, 2 B.C.E. This conjunction would have been all the more dramatic in that it would have occurred at the very peak of the biggest meteor shower of the year, the Perseids, which peak every year about August 11–12. No doubt those magi would have noticed that too, and assigned an even greater significance to the conjunction.
Or are my facts wrong? If this is correct, it would be worth including in your book.
Answer: When I first read your question I thought you were proposing the August 12, 2 B.C.E. as a better date for Jesus’ birth. Then I correctly understood that you were merely attempting to add evidence to that already developed by Dr. Martin.
Dr. Martin took into account all the various Jupiter-Venus conjunctions in his book The Star That Astonished the World (online complete at http://www.askelm.com/star/index.asp). In fact, he took into account ALL the events of the many months prior to Jesus’ birth on September 11, 3 B.C.E. It was ALL of the astronomically foreseeable events taken together that convinced the Magi to travel to Jerusalem and seek out the prophesied King of Israel.
On August 12, 3 B.C.E. (a year before the 2 B.C.E. conjunction that you propose), Jupiter and Venus were within .07 degrees of each other in the night sky. That is extremely close, although the appearance was not as close as the June 17, 2 B.C.E. conjunction when Jupiter and Venus appeared to be a single super bright star.
View the video graphic presentation developed by MSNBC and Griffith Planetarium, available every year on their website at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077385. It was developed without Dr. Martin’s knowledge and they graciously gave permission for ASK to permanently post the video on our website (at http://www.askelm.com/video/v020301.htm). In the presentation, the significance of the 3 B.C.E. Jupiter-Venus conjunction in August is duly noted, rather than the August 12, 2 B.C.E. conjunction that you feel is important. The MSNBC presentation states:
“For the purpose of this exercise we’ll use the arguments put forth by Ernest L. Martin in his book The Star That Astonished the World and set the date some time in 3 B.C.”The Time Stamp of Revelation
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