June 2000


Editor – Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 2272, Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail – <> Website –





            This is the last issue of Biblical Astronomy for the July 1999 to June 2000 subscription year.  If you have not yet subscribed to the July 2000 through June 2001 year and wish to do so, please send a check or money order for $20.00 ($25.00 Canada, $30.00 other countries) to the above address.  I look forward to serving you astronomical information in the coming year, as well as updates from the Mid-east. 




                The following is the New Moon Report from the Karaite Korner, Jerusalem, Israel. 

“On Saturday June 3, 2000 the New Moon was seen by Devorah Gordon and Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem.  The moon was first sighted by Devorah at 19:56 and by Nehemia at 19:58.  Sunset was observed at 19:34.  The moon was not visible from Israel on the previous evening, making the evening of June 3, New Moon Day of the Third Month. 

Rosh Hodesh Sameah! (Happy New Moon Day!)   Nehemiah Gordon – Jerusalem, Israel.”


The next New Moon will most likely be visible near sunset on July 3, when it will be 5% illuminated and 18 degrees above the horizon five minutes after sunset.  But there is a somewhat slight possibility that it will be seen near sunset on July 2, when it will be 1% illuminated and 7 degrees above the horizon five minutes after sunset.

Since I have been recording the New Moon sightings over the last few years, the lowest point above the horizon at five minutes after sunset that the first crescent was sighted when the moon was 1% illuminated, was 8 degrees.  If the moon is sighted on July 2, the lower boundary I use to forecast a New Moon sighting will move down a notch.   





                Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon will come into conjunction on June 1, in the constellation Taurus.  The moon will be a waning crescent with 3% illumination at the time of the conjunction in the early morning sky.  As mentioned in the May issue of Biblical Astronomy, Jupiter and Saturn come into conjunction about every 20 years.  On occasion, the moon joins them (about every 60 years on the average).  Charts 147 and 148 show the position of the three celestial bodies in Taurus.

            Some attribute the deaths of several U.S. presidents while in office to the 20-year cycle of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction.  Others attribute this factor to an old indian curse.  I believe that it is just coincidence, though a strange one.  Since 1840 each president elected during or within one year of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has been assassinated, or died in office, with the exception of Ronald Reagan.  Though he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981.  Did he break the curse?  Below is a listing of U.S. presidents who met this fate.


Year Elected   President        Fate


1840                Harrison           Died in Office

1860                Lincoln Assassinated

1880                Garfield            Assassinated

1900                McKinley         Assassinated

1920                Harding            Died in Office

1940                Roosevelt         Died in Office

1960                Kennedy          Assassinated

1980                Reagan             Broke the curse            2000                ???????            ?????????????


Jupiter and Saturn will not be in conjunction again until the year 2020.  On December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be at their closest for the entire century when they pass about 1/10th of a degree from one another.



Venus (the bright and morning star) and Mars (Michael) will be in a close conjunction on June 21, when they will pass within ¼ of a degree from each other.  The planets will be too close to the sun to be seen visually, unless you have access to the SOHO observatory.   Charts 149 and 150 show the position of Venus and Mars in the constellation Gemini at the time of the conjunction.  Mars and Venus are above left to the club of Orion.

The Summer Solstice will also occur on June 21, at 4:48 a.m. Jerusalem Daylight Savings Time or on June 20, at 9:48 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  The Summer Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches the celestial coordinates of 6 hours Right Ascension (90 degrees from the Vernal Equinox point) and 23.5 degrees Declination north of the Celestial Equator.  This is the farthest north in the sky that the Sun reaches during the year. 

Charts 151 and 152 show the position of the Sun at the time that it reaches Summer Solstice.  The line running horizontally through the Sun is the Ecliptic, which is the path that the sun follows through the heavens as seen from Earth.  The celestial coordinates for the Winter Solstice is 18 hours Right Ascension (270 degrees from the Vernal Equinox point) and 23.5 degrees Declination south of the Celestial Equator.  This is the farthest south in the sky that the sun reaches during the year.





The following is an update from the Comet Observation Home Page released on May 16.

“Mike Linnolt has visually recovered this comet from Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii.  His observed magnitude, which appears to be very carefully estimated, suggests that 99 S4 may be falling behind the brightness predictions for the comet.  Such behavior is not unexpected given that this comet may be making its first trip through the inner solar system.  However, it is a bit too soon to declare 99 S4 a fizzle.  Mike Linnolt’s observation, while made very carefully from a wonderful observation site, still was made with the comet only six degrees above the horizon.  It is still possible that his estimate is on the faint side.  We will have to wait another two weeks before the comet is higher in the sky without the moon.  By then we should have a good handle on the question of how bright the comet is likely to get.”


The following update was released on June 5.

“This comet is running behind predictions.  It now looks like this comet might only get to be magnitude 5.0 or perhaps fainter.  It is unlikely that the comet will be a naked eye object unless you are in very dark skies and know exactly where to look.”

The comet may have an outburst as it approaches closer to the Sun, in which case it can become considerably brighter.  But this is only speculation at this point.  We’ll see what happens in late July. 

Charts 153 and 154 show the path of Comet 1999 S4 from June 1, 2000 to July 9, 2000.  The path starts in the Triangulum and ends under the armpit of Perseus.  The positions are marked off in 5-day increments.  The comet will reach its closest approach to Earth on July 22 at a distance of 34.6 million miles.  On July 6/7, this comet will pass conjunction to the spot in Rosh Satan where Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp crossed on April 10/11, 1996 and 1997.  There will be more on this comet in the next issue of Biblical Astronomy.





The star Eta Carinae, which is in the rear section of the constellation Argo (the ship or company of travelers), is expected to go supernova in the near future and may become bright enough to be seen in the daytime.  The location of this star in the ship is actually in the poop deck. 

I received some very interesting insight on this through a telephone conversation with Steve Coons of Seattle, Washington.  Steve related to me that the poop deck was where the captains of ancient and not so ancient ships stood to direct the crew and oversee the voyage.  From that vantagepoint, the captain could see everything in front of him, including the direction the ship was heading.  The captain of the fabled Argo was Jason (the Graeco-Hebrew equivalent of Joshua or Jesus).  It is Jesus who is the Captain of our salvation and our ship.  When this star goes supernova, it will outshine millions of suns.

See the June 1999 issue of Biblical Astronomy for more information on this star and the constellation Argo.