Sydney, Dec 8: An Australian astronomer has claimed to have solved the mystery of the Bethlehem star, that suggests Jesus Christ was born on June 17, not December 25, which if proven true might change the date when Christmas is celebrated in the world.
According to biblical mythology, the Bethlehem star was the guiding star that led the three wise men, or magi, to the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Now, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Dave Reneke, News editor of Sky and Space magazine and also an astronomer, has said that complex charting software has allowed astronomers to map the night sky as it would have appeared more than 2000 years ago and has revealed a spectacular astronomical event at the time of the birth of Christ.
"It's like a digital map where we can move forward in time as well as backwards," Reneke explained.
Generally accepted research has places the nativity to somewhere between 3BC and 1AD.
Using the Bible book of Matthew as a reference point, Reneke pinpointed the planetary conjunction to an exact date in 2BC.
Reneke said that a "beacon of light" would have been visible across the eastern dawn sky as Venus and Jupiter moved across the constellation of Leo on June 17, 2BC.
The conjunction of the planets was so close that the planets would have appeared as one bright star even with the naked eye, according to Reneke.
"It's called a star, but it's really a planet," he said.
"They could easily have mistaken it for one bright star. Astronomy is such a precise science, we can plot exactly where the planets were. It certainly seems this is the fabled Christmas star," he added.
Theories of such a conjunction have competed with speculation the star was caused by a supernova, an exploding star, or even a comet.
Reneke said that by narrowing the date down, the technology has provided the most compelling explanation yet.