The following four tables give additional information regarding the star of Bethlehem. Table 1, entitled “A Summary of the Star of Bethlehem Sequence,” gives the chronological sequence of the events found in our story and converts the dates of all astronomical events into our Gregorian calendar. The specific dates of these astronomical events, with some slight changes, are given by Martin (1998). The chronology of events is found in the Bible.
Table 2, entitled “The ‘Symbols’ in the Star of Bethlehem Story,” gives Jewish and Gentile names to the planets and constellations at the time of our story. These names are not exclusive, but several of them are commonly used today.
Table 3, entitled “Naked-Eye, Planet-Planet Conjunctions and Frequency of Favorable Visibility During the 21st Century,” was used to estimate the number of years it would take for one of these conjunctions to occur and be visible from Earth. The resulting likelihood of these occurrences was stated throughout our story by Simon. The likelihood of these occurrences near the time of the star of Bethlehem may differ, although this difference is not expected to be great.
Frequencies are determined by dividing the number of conjunctions by 100 years, multiplying the result by the percentage of visibility, and then dividing by 2, for either an evening or morning conjunction. So, for example, Simon states in Chapter 1 that Saturn and Mercury have a morning conjunction once every 30 years. This is confirmed in Table 3 by dividing 124 conjunctions of Saturn and Mercury by 100 years, multiplying by the percentage of visibility, or 5 percent (or 0.05), and dividing by 2. The result is 0.03 conjunctions per year, or about one in every 30 years [124 ÷ 100 x 0.05 ÷ 2 = 0.03 conjunctions per year].
Table 4 is entitled “Approximate Gregorian Calendars for the Years 3 and 2 BC.” Dates of the astronomical conjunctions in our story and Jewish holidays were mapped over to these calendars. Red lettering indicates a conjunction; blue lettering indicates a Jewish holiday. These matches are not intended to be exact, especially because Jewish days start at sundown on the previous evening. Sharp eyes will see that these two years have the same Gregorian calendar dates as the years of 2009 and 2010.
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