Modern Astronomical Evidence for the Star of Bethlehem

from Biblica.

Matthew 2:1-2       The Magi Visit the Messiah

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem     2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

In Matthew’s account of the story of the magi, the ‘guidance’ of a star is mentioned four times (Matthew2:2, 7, 9, 10). Its purpose in terms of the narrative is clear–to guide the wise men to the newborn King. But what scientific validity is there for such a phenomenon?

Given that the magi were almost certainly astrologers, the kind of phenomena familiar to them would have included comets, supernova (though not the term) and a conjunction of  planets, all of which are consistent with modern scientific observation. While open to modern refinement, the definition of a comet  given by the Roman poet Virgil in the Aenid is still valid; „a star leading a meteor flew with much light”. Likewise, records of the conjuction of planets were carefully kept; there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C. and of Jupiter and Venus in 6 B.C.

The modern term supernova, a star that suddenly increases in size and brilliance then fades away, may not occur in ancient documentation, but this does not mean the phenomenon was unknown.

Where modern science would differ is in the interpretation held among the ancients. What was important to the astrologer was not only to notice the phenomena, but to search for their meaning. They would have concurred with the statement of Tacitus in his Annals that „the general belief is that a comet means a change of emperor” and that the conjunction of planets is associated with the birth of a king. In fact, a common role for such wise men was to discern the rise of a new king.

If we accept some element of historicity in Matthew’s account, then any number of combinations is possible and consistent with modern astronomical understanding. The star first sighted by the wise men (Matthew 2:2) could be explained as a supernova. Then the „star that  they had seen at its rising” might be a comet that „stopped over the place where the child was”. (Matthew 2:9) Alternately, it could have been a reflection from a planetary conjunction; two of which occurred in 7 B.C. and 6 B.C.– the most likely years of Jesus’ birth.

The occurrence of these phenomena is plausible in terms of modern astronomy, and their coincidence of time and place is not impossible. At some point, it comes down to a belief that it was God who guided the wise men by utilizing the ordinary processes of creation. The event, therefore, is not a violation of nature, nor a contradiction of modern science, but the way in which nature allows for such coincidences to occur. Ultimately, their importance for the Gospel is that God uses them to witness to the truth of Jesus’ identity on behalf of the gentile world.

Copleşit de Creaţia lui Dumnezeu – Spectacol astronomic unic: supernova care poată fi văzută prin binoclu in următoarele zile

O lumină strălucitoare ce poate fi observată în galaxia Messier 82 – sau Galaxia Trabuc, cum mai este numită – marchează locul unde o stea a explodat, fenomen astronomic numit supernovă. Este supernova cea mai apropiată de Terra în acest moment şi este atât de strălucitoare, încât poate fi văzută cu ajutorul unor instrumente optice obişnuite, de exemplu un binoclu.

photo credit wikipedia

Galaxia Trabuc (M82) se găseşte la aproximativ 12 milioane de ani lumină-depărtare.

Supernova, poziţionată pe cer între constelaţiile Carul Mare şi Carul Mic, va putea fi observată cu binoclul, pe cerul emisferei nordice, în următoarele câteva nopţi.

Este o descoperire care a fost descrisă drept „Sfântul Graal” pentru specialiştii din domeniu, deoarece oferă  un prilej unic pentru cercetări care ar putea ajuta la descifrarea secretelor materiei negre şi ale formării galaxiilor.

Mai departe aici….

In Awe of God’s Creation – Time lapse of last week’s meteor shower – Filmare cu Ploaia de Stele Saptamana Trecuta – Coplesit de Creatia lui Dumnezeu

 

Composite image by Peter Greig Photography. Read more about this composite image here. IMAGE via http://earthsky.org/2013-perseid-meteor-shower (where you can see additional spectacular photos)

Romanian: FILMARE din CALIFORNIA la Parcul Joshua Tree National Park din 11-13 august 2013.

Footage from a time-lapse workshop during the Perseid Meteor Shower. Shot on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in Joshua Tree National Park. Please note that not all of the light trails are meteors. Some of them are airplanes or satellites crossing the night sky. You can tell by the direction and length of the trails.

60 Seconds Timelapse of the Perseid Meteor Shower in Joshua Tree Park from Kai Gradert on Vimeo.

In awe of God’s creation – This weekend’s SuperMoon – SuperLuna din acest weekend – Coplesit de creatia lui Dumnezeu

Photo via news.nationalgeographic.com

ROMANIAN – SuperLuna, fenomen astronomic care are loc la fiecare 14 luni, în timpul căruia satelitul natural al planetei noastre se află în faza de Lună plină şi va apărea mai mare şi mai strălucitor decât în oricare altă noapte din 2013, va avea loc în acest weekend, pe 23 iunie. Pe 23 iunie, Luna va apărea mai mare şi mai strălucitoare ca de obicei şi se va afla la cea mai mică distanţă faţă de Terra din întregul an – 356.991 de kilometri.

În timpul fenomenului de SuperLună, Pământul, Soarele şi Luna sunt aliniate – Terra aflându-se între Lună şi Soare. Forţele gravitaţionale exercitate pe Terra de Lună şi Soare determină creşterea şi scăderea mareelor, fapt care i-a determinat pe „alarmişti” să creadă că există o legătură între SuperLună şi calamităţile naturale. Potrivit NASA, mareele din timpul fenomenului de SuperLună sunt doar cu câţiva centimetri mai înalte decât cele produse în nopţile obişnuite. În 2013 au mai fost deja câteva SuperLuni, însă niciuna dintre ele nu s-a produs în timpul fazei de Lună plină. SURSA Mediafax.ro

ENGLISH –

Skies over the Desert Southwest and the lower Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic and southern New England will offer the clearest views of the supermoon. Moon rise Sunday June 23 7:33 am full strawberry moon.

 Photo via www.scientificamerican.com. A so-called supermoon will rise in the east at sunset on Saturday. A supermoon occurs when the moon is slightly closer to Earth than it typically is, and the effect is most noticeable when it occurs at the same time as a full moon, according to James Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. This full moon is not only the closest and largest full moon of the year, according to astronomy website EarthSky. It’s also the moon’s closest encounter with Earth in all of 2013. So it’s not just a supermoon — it’s the closest supermoon of the half-dozen or so that will occur this year, EarthSky reports.

The word supermoon was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle, says AccuWeather’s Mark Paquette. Nolle used the term to describe a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is at or near its closest approach to Earth. The moon will pass within about 221,000 miles from the Earth on Saturday night, compared with its „typical” distance of about 238,000 miles. Garvin says the moon may seem bigger, although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent. For instance, the moon on Saturday night will appear 12% to 14% larger than it will next month.

The moon’s effect on ocean tides is higher during a supermoon than any other time, so expect higher and lower tides than usual, reports Sean Breslin of the Weather Channel. (The high tide this weekend is also known as a „king” tide.) There is no connection between the supermoon and earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

„If you’re looking for a more thrilling lunar event, a larger supermoon is expected on Sept. 28, 2015, and the largest supermoon until 2034 will occur on Nov. 14, 2016,” Breslin says. The Desert Southwest and the lower Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic and southern New England will have the clearest skies for viewing the supermoon, according to a forecast from AccuWeather.

The Upper Midwest will have the poorest conditions, since rain and thunderstorms are forecast across that region overnight, AccuWeather reports. Showers will also affect part of the Northwest and pockets of the Plains and Deep South, but will die out as the night goes on. The rest of the USA will have times of clear skies with patchy clouds obstructing views at times. SOURCE – USA Today

A SuperMoon is set to occur in the weekend of June 23rd, 2013. The video below explains that when the Full Moon coincides with its closest approach to Earth, we get a „Supermoon’ also known as the Perigee Full Moon. The full Moon appeared about 14% larger and 30% brighter than others on May 5, 2012. VIDEO by VideoFromSpace

What Is A Supermoon?

In Awe of God’s Creation – New Zealand landscapes time lapse – Frumusetea Noua Zeelandă – Coplesit de Creatia lui Dumnezeu

Photo from New Zealand Landscapes Timelapse  from Bevan Percival

Photographer Bevan Percival time lapse New Zealand

Psalm 92:5 How great are Your works, O LORD!

Photographer Bevan Percival loves to chase ” fleeting moments of damatic light on beautiful landscapes and also capturing the night sky and milky way in all it’s glory”. And how does he get spectacular footage like this (it takes hundreds of hours to make a time lapse of just a few minutes and several thousands of frames)? Percival says he  does this by „curling up out under the stars beside all the gear for whole nights at a time catching some sleep here and there between checking the gear and changing batteries and staring up into eternity with spectacular meteors burning up in the cosmic shore out the corner of your eye.

The result is simply breathtaking. For myself, I see the fingerprint of God all over the place.

New Zealand Landscapes Timelapse  from Bevan Percival

Creation Astronomy – Dr. Jason Lisle on Origins

Astrophycist Dr. Jason Lisle makes some interesting points which support young earth creation. Esp. the comet issue and the distance between the earth and the moon. Also, did you know that the lunar module used by the US astronauts in their landing can still be seen on the moon’s surface, and even more amazing is that the astronauts footprints from their moon walk are still preserved. Dr. Lisle explains that since there is no weather on the moon to move the lunar dust around, the footprints are perfectly reserved and the lunar landing gear is still there, it has not sunk into the lunar ground.

Published on Oct 19, 2012 by 

Donn Chapman and Jason Lisle talk about astronomical evidence for creation and the Bible. | Dr. Lisle’s Blog: http://www.jasonlisle.com | On ICRhttp://www.icr.org/jason_lisle/ | Origins Podcast –https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/origins/id421176606 |

About Jason Lisle, Ph.D

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity.

Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including „The Created Cosmos.” He now works (beginning in April, 2012) as director of research at the Institute for Creation Research (http://ICR.org).

Louie Giglio – Indescribable tour & How Great is our God (subtitrare in Limba Romana) Ce Mare e Dumnezeul Nostru (Prezentare a Universului si Galaxiilor)

Louie Giglio travels the country speaking to University students. Read an interview by Christianity Today, featured on Josh Harris’s blog, directly below these two outstanding videos that have been working their way around the world.

Indescribable (English only/fara subtitrare)  Video begins with an awesome 6 minutes of footage of our universe.

Louie Giglio and Passion Church

louiegiglio_lg.jpg

From Josh Harris’s blog.                    Today I got a letter in the mail that Louie and Shelley Giglio sent out to friends of Passion. It was a report of all that God has been doing through the Passion World Tour. It sounds like it’s been incredible. But then the letter ended with an announcement that completely shocked me: Louie is planting a church in Atlanta. Here’s what he wrote:

If you haven’t heard by now, Passion is taking a massive turn as we head into the future. At the heart of the shift is a sense of fresh calling that God has made unmistakably clear to Shelley and me over the past eighteen months or so. Though for many reasons it looked like we might never lead a local church, all that has changed as God has placed in our hearts a huge passion to do just that. So in the coming months, by the grace of God, we will be planting a Passion Church in Atlanta as a local expression of the Kingdom of God for our rapidly growing and diverse city as well as a base for our influence throughout the nation and world.

I went online and found a video interview with Louie about his plans. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Louie is his readiness to listen to the Lord’s leading and do something totally different. Most of the times „totally different” for Louie seems to require bigger faith and bigger risks for God’s glory. But Louie always takes them and never looks back. I pray this new venture will be more God-exalting than anything that has come before. There’s something very cool about the ultimate „conference guy” becoming the pastor of a local church.I’ll be praying for you, Louie.

Louie Giglio Interview: The following is a portion of an interview Louie did with Christianity Today:

Why are you planting a new church in Atlanta?
In my heart something has been changing and turning for about the last five years. Christ died for the local church. While I’ve spoken at many of them, and Passion has influenced them around the world, I want to be able to lay down at the feet of Jesus and say I gave it a shot–I tried to build into the local community of faith that he gave his life for, that he loved, and that he believed is the best agent for change in the world.It’s about a man who wants to be obedient to God. It’s about me, at 50, hearing the voice of God and saying yes, I will follow that.

How have you recruited the staff for your church?
I’ve never recruited one person. Most of the people I know and respect are already involved in local churches. All Shelley and I did was start saying to our friends, „This is what God has done in our hearts. We think we’re crazy, but we feel like we want to pastor a local community of faith with the DNA of Passion.”

Our friends said, „Tell us when and where and we will be there.”

With you as the senior pastor, and Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin leading worship, many have been calling this a „superstar church.” What’s your take on that?
All I say to [criticism] is, well, you’ll have to take that up with God. There is some history on the side of God putting gifted people in the same space at the same time. The purpose is not to congregate ability but to foster a movement that will reach the cities of the nation and the world. History is on our side and Jesus is on our side because he is the one who promised to grow the church. I’m not starting anything. Jesus started the church. This is not going to be Louie’s church. This is Jesus’ church. To the degree that we can let it be his and not ours–then it will be amazing.

What will happen to the Passion conferences? Will they still continue?
Right now we’re going to hold it all together as best we can, by the grace of God. God has given us a platform, a footing with university students that we cannot relinquish. It’s been a gift of God that somehow we have had the favor to gather people and propel them out for God’s kingdom agenda around the world. Passion 2010 will be back in Atlanta. We’re expecting somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 university students here from around the world.

Right now there isn’t a home, a foundation, for us. We’re excited about a local expression of faith, a local community of believers who have the same DNA as Passion. To be able to go to Stockholm and come home and have home be us is an awesome thought for us. And to be able to launch back to Tokyo and know we have a church community behind us, moving with us–I think it all can happen.

I know you are from Atlanta, but the city has almost 7,000 churches. Did you ever consider another location for your new church?
Atlanta is a city of five million plus people, and it will experience the largest percentage growth of all cities in the United States in the next ten years. To say that Atlanta doesn’t need another church is crazy thinking to me. The church I used to attend (North Point Community Church) has three locations in the city. When they opened Buckhead in its new location, (senior pastor) Andy Stanley said they were getting a lot of flak. But he said the research shows there are 300,000 people who don’t go to anybody’s church on any given Sunday. Andy said that the truth of the matter is, there could be ten more Buckhead churches, and we would still only be scratching the surface.

We said to God, „What do you want to do?” It seemed like God just led us here.

You’ve said Andy Stanley, your pastor, was one of the first to know about your new church. Was he surprised? Was it difficult for him to hear?
He was shocked. Andy was the first person I told, before rumors of this even got to anybody else. I said, „This is what is in my heart.” He looked at me like, „Are you sure you want to do that?”

Andy and I have talked in a lot of detail about what this journey looks like and it’s so amazing. Andy is an incredible leader–the best leader I know. He has been so gracious. I believe North Point will continue to flourish, I believe Passion City Church will flourish, and there will still be hundreds of thousands of people in the city who have not yet encountered the grace of God. We’re going to be friends through the whole process.

Some people ask me, „How could you put a church in Andy’s backyard?” But whose backyard is it? God’s. The church and city don’t belong to Andy or to me or to anybody else.

What would you tell people in Atlanta about attending Passion City Church?
They should go to their own church and serve well in the position that they’re in. I wouldn’t say anything to them about Passion City Church. If they say, „I know about Passion; I’ve been to some of the events and I’ve been waiting for something like this to come along,” then great. How other people find their way to Passion City Church is really about the Holy Spirit.

Will this be a seeker church?
We are not using any kind of descriptive contemporary church adjectives to help us shape what Passion City Church is. When our core team meets, we don’t use the common words that are defining churches. We are looking at the simplicity of the body of Christ and the presence of God.

We’re concerned about whether the presence of God is noticeable and active in our gathering because people don’t need an event, they don’t need a show. People don’t need famous worship leadership. They need a life-changing transaction with their Creator. That’s what people want.

Our church is a church where people have life-changing encounters with God. When you come to Passion City Church, you’ll know that we’re here to exalt God, to paint a picture of him, to be people who are humbled before him, to express him to the city and to the world.

What will be the biggest difference between inspirational conference speaking and preaching on a regular basis?
For me, there’s not a lot of difference. For ten years, in our student ministry at Baylor, I spoke every week. You have to come with something fresh every time. In Atlanta, every Tuesday night I stood in front of young single adults for 11 or 12 years. The speaking is going to be the same, the message is going to be the same. Now I’m back to my 21-year history of getting on my knees, my eyes open, the word of God open.

Passion is geared toward college students, and you’ve said Passion City Church will have the same DNA. Do you expect your parishioners to be largely young adults?
We’re a church for all ages already. Passion isn’t going to be a university church, although there are 160,000 university students in Atlanta and we’d love for them to come.

We’d like to be a church where the people who are 50 always are leaning toward the people who are 18. I know that biblically, it’s our place to lead and their place to respect their elders. But the church grows when we embrace them. I hope it has a youthful vibe.

It seems logical to expect that a church led by a team of Louie Giglio, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin will attract a lot of attendees. How will you be sure your congregation is growing spiritually?
The practicality is that it has to be fleshed out in small groups, one-on-one relationships. There isn’t a blueprint yet, but it can absolutely be done. There isn’t a dichotomy between having a big church and a successful community. There are some gigantic churches in the world who are doing an amazing job of fostering community.

It depends on what are you trying to do. Are you are trying to get the most people possible in the church, or trying to get the deepest possible community connection possible? When you read the New Testament, the beginning of the church was explosive. We are all reaching back to the New Testament community. Everybody is talking about Acts 2 church or community as if that wasn’t important five or ten or fifteen years ago, when everybody was talking about how to get the unchurched through the door. We lose the focus when we begin to think first about people.

So we try to first think about God. The Holy Spirit is amazing; he will lead people who are following him to help build community. It’s possible to have an explosive, movement-oriented church that has unbelievable down-deep community. And if I had a blueprint for that right now, I would be writing a book.

We aren’t afraid at Passion City Church of being incredibly large. We’re not intimidated by the thought of, „What if x number of people come?” We’re also not afraid of being incredibly small. We just want to be a place where the presence of God rests and moves out to help this city and the cities of the world.

We have high confidence in God. When you take steps that look a little crazy, he has a way of doing things that blow your mind. We are just trying to position ourselves, to be ready.

Read the full interview.

Posted on the Josh Harris blog August 13, 2008

Quasars…region in the center of a massive galaxy surrounding a supermassive black hole

What are Quasars ?

A Primordial Quasar
Drawing Credit: Wolfram Freudling et al. (STECF), ESO, ESA, NASA

Explanation: What did the first quasars look like? The nearest quasars are now known to be supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Gas and dust that falls toward a quasar glows brightly, sometimes outglowing the entire home galaxy. The quasars that formed in the first billion years of the universe are more mysterious, though, with even the nature of the surrounding gas still unknown. Above, an artist’s impression shows a primordial quasar as it might have been, surrounded by sheets of gas, dust, stars, and early star clusters. Exacting observations of three distant quasars now indicate emission of very specific colors of the element iron. These Hubble Space Telescope observations, which bolster recent results from the WMAP mission, indicate that a whole complete cycle of stars was born, created this iron, and died within the first few hundred million years of the universe.

A quasi-stellar radio source („quasar”) is a very energetic and distant active galactic nucleus. Quasars are the most luminous objects in the universe. Quasars were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that were point-like, similar to stars, rather than extended sources similar to galaxies.

While there was initially some controversy over the nature of these objects—as recently as the early 1980s, there was no clear consensus as to their nature—there is now a scientific consensus that a quasar is a compact region in the center of a massive galaxy surrounding its central supermassive black hole. Its size is 10–10,000 times the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole. The quasar is powered by an accretion disc around the black hole.

Quasars show a very high redshift, which is an effect of the expansion of the universe between the quasar and the Earth.[1] They are the most luminous, powerful, and energetic objects known in the universe. They tend to inhabit the very centers of active young galaxies and can emit up to a thousand times the energy output of the Milky Way. When combined with Hubble’s law, the implication of the redshift is that the quasars are very distant—and thus, it follows, objects from much earlier in the universe’s history. The most luminous quasars radiate at a rate that can exceed the output of average galaxies, equivalent to one trillion (1012) suns. This radiation is emitted across the spectrum, almost equally, from X-rays to the far-infrared with a peak in the ultraviolet-optical bands, with some quasars also being strong sources of radio emission and of gamma-rays. In early optical images, quasars looked like single points of light (i.e. point sources), indistinguishable from stars, except for their peculiar spectra. With infrared telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope, the „host galaxies” surrounding the quasars have been identified in some cases.[2] These galaxies are normally too dim to be seen against the glare of the quasar, except with these special techniques. Most quasars cannot be seen with small telescopes, but 3C 273, with an average apparent magnitude of 12.9, is an exception. At a distance of 2.44 billion light-years, it is one of the most distant objects directly observable with amateur equipment.

More than 200,000 quasars are known, most from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Quasars have all the same properties as active galaxies, but are more powerful. You can read more here and enter the Astronomy portal here.

Space-related Portals from Wikipedia

Portal:Astronomy
Portal:Star
Portal:Spaceflight
Astronomy Star Spaceflight
Portal:Space
Portal:Solar System
Portal:Mars
Space Solar System Mars

Miracolul formarii Universului (cu subtitrare)

Journeys to the edge of Creation by Moody Publishers 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Part 4

In awe of creation – The size and scale of our world

 

CLICK  ON  PICTURE  TO  ENLARGE

(From the The PBH Network (via) Tim Challies)

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