Nehemia Gordon from
“The new moon was sighted on
I have some difficulty in believing that the moon
could have been visible to the naked eye at that time and place. It was about 1 percent illuminated and
between 1.3 and 2 degrees above the horizon at the time it was supposedly
spotted. In all records over the past 6
years from sightings from
Roy Hoffman of the New Moon Society in
“In my opinion, no reliable report of the New Moon
being seen from
Here are the details so that you can judge for
yourself. The Moon was not seen from Kfar Eldad,
Please look for the Moon again tonight.
Next month's New Moon Should be
clearly visible from
As expected, the New Moon was (and still is) clearly
Next month's New Moon should be clearly visible from
I lean toward the latter report as being the more
reliable sighting of the New Moon and therefore the first day of the Ninth
month of the corrected Hebrew Calendar should be reckoned from sunset November
14 to sunset November 15. Thus the first
day of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights), which falls on
the 25th day of the Ninth month (Kislev), starts at sunset on
Venus (Nogah) and Mars (Adom) will
come into conjunction on
The Hebrew name for this constellation is Mozanaim, which means the scales, weighing. The Arabic name is Al Zubena, which means purchase, or redemption. The ancient Akkadian name for this constellation is Tul-ku, which means the sacred mound, or alter. The most ancient form of this constellation was a circular alter.
Chart 380 shows the positions of Venus and Mars in Libra during
their conjunction around on December 5, as seen from
Chart 380 – Venus and Mars conjunction
Here is a portrayal of the atoning blood of Messiah (the Bright and Morning Star) on the sacred alter. If nothing else, this serves to remind us that we were and are redeemed and purchased by the blood that He shed on the alter of sacrifice. And on this Feast of Dedication we have the opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the one who paid the price for our redemption.
On December 7, 2004 the moon will occult (pass over)
Jupiter (Zedek). This event will
be visible throughout much of
Chart 381 shows the positions of Jupiter and the Moon in the
constellation and sign Bethulah (Virgo) as seen from
Chart 381 – Lunar occultation of Jupiter
At this writing, this occultation is a past event. I have been holding off on getting this newsletter out in order to get the most updated information on Comet Machholz, which is the big celestial event for later this month and also for the next month. Below is a photo of the moon just before it disappears behind the moon and an article from Sky & Telescope on the December 7 occultation.
Venus (Nogah) and Mercury (Catab) will come into conjunction in the sign Scorpio on December 27/28, 2004. Mercury is the planet that portrays Gabriel the messenger angel.
Chart 382 shows the positions of Venus and Mercury in the scorpion
as seen from
Chart 382 – Venus and Mercury in
Comet Machholz is holding up to its expectations as it approaches the inner solar system. As of December 9, the comet is at a brightness of magnitude 5.0 and is expected to get brighter by at least one magnitude when it reaches its closest approach to the earth on January 5/6, 2005.
The comet should be easily seen in dark skies with the naked eye in late December. It will be a good binocular object in areas with light pollution, such as near cities or streetlights.
Chart 383 shows the path of Comet Machholz from December 7 to
December 31. The numbers on the left
next to the path are the days of the month.
The numbers to the right of the colon is the time. Each dot represents one day. This chart is as seen at
local time from
Chart 383 – Path of Comet Machholz from
December 7 to
The article below concerning this comet was written by Robert Roy Britt and released by Space.com on December 7.
New Comet Now Visible to Naked Eye
“A comet discovered earlier this year has now moved close enough to be visible without binoculars or telescopes by experienced observers under dark skies. It is expected to put on a modest show this month and into January.
Comet Machholz will be at
its closest to Earth
People with dark rural skies and a good map should be able to find it on Moon-free nights now into January.
Backyard astronomers have been watching Machholz for months through telescopes. It was spotted by naked-eye observers for the first time about three weeks ago from the Southern Hemisphere, said Donald Machholz, who discovered the frozen chunk of rock and ice in August.
"I saw it last night for the first time with the naked eye," Machholz told SPACE.com Friday.
Comets are made of rocky material and icy mixtures of water and various other chemicals. As a comet approaches the Sun, the surface is heated and essentially boils off. Scientists call the process sublimation. The gas and dust creates a head, also called a coma, and sometimes a tail. Sunlight reflects off the material, making some comets visible from Earth.
Comet Machholz, officially named c/2004 Q2, is not expected to produce the sort of spectacular display put on by comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 or the periodically stunning Halley's comet.
Astronomers cannot say exactly how bright Machholz will get, because it is notoriously difficult to predict the behavior of comets making their first observed close trip around the Sun. Scientists don't fully understand the composition of comets, nor their variety, so they don't know how much stuff will sublimate nor how fast.
Machholz is expected to reach magnitude 4.0, based on an early estimate. On this astronomers' scale, smaller numbers represent brighter objects. The dimmest things visible under perfectly dark skies are around magnitude 6.5. The brightest star, Sirius, is magnitude minus 1.42.
Recent observations suggest Machholz will do at least as well as first predicted.
"The comet is doing better than expected and is about 0.5 magnitudes brighter than expected," Machholz said. "So it will probably get brighter than the Andromeda Galaxy, brighter than magnitude 4.0."
The Andromeda Galaxy is the furthest object visible to the unaided human eye under dark skies. It is a magnitude 3.4 object.
If the comet were to become roughly magnitude 3.0, it would still appear common among the sea of stars available to dark-sky observers. City and suburban dwellers would likely not find it without optical aid. In either case, binoculars or a small telescope might reveal the comet as more of a fuzzy patch, and if it develops a significant tail, that could be visible too.
Machholz, who has found nine other comets, suggests looking for his latest discovery when the Moon is out of the picture, such as around Dec. 11 when it will be at its New phase.
"The comet can still be seen when the Moon is out, but it will be difficult," he said by email. "Use binoculars or a wide-field (low power) telescope, and/or get to a dark site."
The comet is low on the horizon now, where the atmosphere makes for poor viewing. By early January, the comet will be much higher in the sky, improving viewing conditions.”
Also see the September/October 2004 and November 2004 issues of Biblical Astronomy for more information on this comet. There will be another update in the January 2005 issue of Biblical Astronomy.
THE SKY IS FALLING
Well, not really, but the Geminid Meteor
shower that will peak on December 13 may be well worthwhile to make an effort
to see. The below article by Joe Rao was
released by Space.com on
If you were disappointed with the meager showing put on by this year’s Leonid meteor shower, don’t fret. What could be the best meteor display of the year is scheduled to reach its peak on Monday night, Dec. 13.
Skywatchers with dark skies
away from city lights could see one or two meteors every minute during the
Geminid meteor shower. The greatest activity is expected to be visible from
The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. On the night of this shower’s maximum, the meteors will appear to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star Castor in Gemini. [Sky Map ]
The Geminid meteors are usually the most satisfying of all the annual showers, even surpassing the famous Perseids of August. Studies of past displays show that this shower has a reputation for being rich both in slow, bright, graceful meteors and fireballs as well as faint meteors, with relatively fewer objects of medium brightness.
Geminids typically encounter Earth at 22 miles per second (35 kilometers per second), roughly half the speed of a Leonid meteor. Many Geminids are yellowish in hue. Some even appear to form jagged or divided paths.
The Earth moves quickly through this meteor stream. Rates increase steadily for two or three days before maximum. So over the weekend, viewers between and dawn might see a shooting star every few minutes. The number of meteors drops off sharply after the peak. Renegade forerunners and late stragglers might be seen for a week or more before and after maximum.
The Geminids perform excellently in any year, but British meteor astronomer Alastair McBeath has expects a "superb year" in 2004. Last year’s display was seriously compromised by bright moonlight, when a bright gibbous Moon came up over the horizon during the late evening hours and washed-out many of the fainter Geminid streaks.
But this year, the Moon will be at New phase Dec. 11. On the peak night, the Moon will be a skinny crescent, low in the west-southwest at dusk and setting before That means the sky will be dark and moonless for the balance of the night, making for perfect viewing conditions.
According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Monday at 22:20 GMT, which is 5:20 p.m. EST. Locations from Europe and North Africa east to central Russian and Chinese longitudes are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour, or two every minute. [Predictions for Select Cities]
Maximum rates persist at
only marginally reduced levels for some 6 to 10 hours, McBeath says, so other
places, such as
When to watch
Indeed, under normal conditions on the night of maximum activity, with ideal dark-sky conditions, at least 60 to 120 Geminid meteors can be expected to burst across the sky every hour on the average. Light pollution greatly cuts the numbers, so city and suburban dwellers will see far fewer.
Generally speaking, depending on your location, Gemini begins to come up above the east-northeast horizon right around the time evening twilight is coming to an end. So you might catch sight of a few early Geminids as soon as the sky gets dark. There is a fair chance of perhaps catching sight of some "Earth-grazing" meteors.
Earthgrazers are long, bright shooting stars that streak overhead from a point near to even just below the horizon. Such meteors are so distinctive because they follow long paths nearly parallel to our atmosphere.
The Geminids begin to appear noticeably more numerous in the hours after local time Monday, because the shower’s radiant is already fairly high in the eastern sky by then. The best views, however, come around Tuesday, when their radiant point will be passing very nearly overhead. The higher a shower’s radiant, the more meteors it produces all over the sky.
It was during Hanukkah in 4 BCE that Miryam (Mary) conceived the Messiah (Luke -38)
It was on the third day of
Hanukkah in 2 BCE that the Magi found Messiah who was a “young child” in a
It was at the time of Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights) in 27 CE that Yahoshua proclaimed himself to be the Light of the world (John 10:22, 23 and surrounding verses)