I’m late. One reason why the November newsletter didn’t get written when it was scheduled is that I had a few computer breakdowns in November. Everything seems to be up and running now, and thankfully I did not lose the mailing list and other critical program files that are pertinent to the newsletter. I did, however, lose all of my e-mail addresses. If any of the readers were on, and, or wish to be on my e-mail list, please e-mail me your address.
Another reason that the November newsletter did not get written in a timely fashion is that I simply had writers block for a number of days. I could not concentrate on anything except what was happening in the elections. I was, and still am to a little lesser degree, in spiritual distress. After making some phone calls around the country, I found that many other Christians found themselves in the same situation. There is definitely a heavy spiritual battle going on, not just political. We prayed for each other and that the Lord’s Will be done.
I did not get the New Moon Report for October 2000 from Jerusalem. According to my calculations, and provided that there was no cloud cover, the first day of the Hebrew month Heshvan most likely began at sunset on October 28. The moon was 2% illuminated and 10 degrees above the horizon at five minutes after sunset as seen from Jerusalem on that date. The moon would not have been visible from Jerusalem on the previous evening.
The following is the New Moon Report compiled by Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem, Israel.
“On Monday November 27, 2000 the New Moon was sighted by Nehemia Gordon and Devorah Gordon from Jerusalem. The moon was first sighted by Nehemia at 16:50. Sunset was observed at 16:27.”
The first day of Kislev started at sunset on November 27, and ended at sunset November 28. The first day of Hanukkah (Feast of Lights) will be from sunset December 21 (Kislev 24) to sunset December 22 (Kislev 25).
The next New Moon will most likely be observed near sunset on December 27.
These events have now passed, but this is for a matter of record. No more recounts allowed.
November 17 – Leonids Meteor Shower
The Leonids Meteor Shower peaks on November 17 and 18 every year. The radiant of the shower is in the head of the constellation Leo the Lion. I have given this event the nickname “the roar of the Lion of Judah.”
The following is from a November 18 article from the Sky & Telescope website.
“The November 2000 Leonid meteor shower is now history, and early reports reaching Sky & Telescope make no mention of the ‘meteor storm’ that some astronomers had foreseen. But many enthusiasts – those blessed with clear skies in the predawn hours of November 17th and 18th – were far from disappointed by what they saw. This was not your typical Leonid shower.
Clouds overspread eastern North America on the morning of November 17th, the period favored in predictions by meteor specialists Ignacio Ferrin, Carola Gockel, and Rudiger Jehn. But after piecing together dozens of reports from Europe, Marc Gyssens of the International Meteor Organization (IMO) found that two modest peaks in activity did occur on the 17th, at around 6h and 8h Universal Time, respectively. Meteor rates (as corrected for sky conditions and altitude of the shower radiant) briefly exceeded 100 per hour. In an electronic circular issued by the IMO, Gyssens notes that these peaks arrived at just about the time this year when the Earth was encountering particles that had been released by the Leonids’ parent comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle, back in 1932.
Much higher rates are being reported for the predawn hours of November 18th, the period favored by astronomers Robert McNaught and David Asher in their own forecasts. Just before 4h UT, when the Earth was passing through particles that had bubbled off the comet as long ago as 1733, the rates for IMO observers in Europe climbed to nearly 300 meteors per hour.
Then shortly before 8h UT on the 18th (associated particles from 1866), North Americans saw similarly high numbers. Initial reports to IMO place the peak about a half hour early, between 7:00 and 7:30 rather than the predicted 7:51 UT. In Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Cheryl Beatty observed 41 meteors from 1:50 to 2:30 a.m. (6:50 to 7:30 UT) – one Leonid per minute – despite strong moonlight and suburban light pollution. In nearby Bedford, Sky & Telescope’s Alan MacRobert logged 105 Leonids in 76 minutes and judged that the true (corrected) rate must have been a few hundred per hour. ‘They were beautiful!’ he adds. ‘The ones that showed through moonlight were mostly bright and colored yellow or (in the case of the brightest ones) green-white.’
Two other staffers, Dennis di Cicco and Stuart Goldman, observed under very clear skies in Sudbury, Massachusetts. ‘There were times when I counted 10 meteors per minute, all over the sky!’ di Cicco reports. ‘But they came in spurts – then it would be quiet.’ Long-time observer John Bortle of New York State noticed several curious pairings of meteors. ‘One pair, separated by about 3 degrees, paralleled each other across the sky. In other cases one meteor followed in the path of another after a few seconds.’
‘The Leonids I saw were fast and very bright, some even outshining Sirius,’ says Sky & Telescope chief editor Rick Fienberg. ‘With few exceptions they left impressive trains that lasted a second or two. It was certainly the most fun I’ve had meteor-watching in a long time.’”
November 19 – Saturn at opposition
At 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (3:00 p.m. Jerusalem Standard Time) Saturn reached opposition or its closest approach to the earth for the year. Saturn (Satan) also reached its peak brightness for the year at magnitude –0.01 and was at its brightest for the last 20 plus years. Saturn will reach its peak brightness over a 30-year period in 2002. See articles on the opposition of Saturn and how this event may have relevance to earthly events in the November 1998 and November 1999 issues of Biblical Astronomy. Saturn is in the constellation Taurus at present and was also there when it reached opposition in November.
November 27 – Jupiter at opposition
At 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 27 (4:00 a.m. Jerusalem Standard Time, November 28) Jupiter (Tzedek - The Lord Our Righteousness) reached opposition or its closest approach to the earth for the year. Jupiter was also at its brightest for the year at magnitude –2.7, far outshining Saturn. Jupiter was also in the constellation Taurus at the time of opposition, and is also there now.
The main theme for the sign Taurus is Messiah, the coming Judge of all the earth. Fortunately, His rule and Kingship does not depend on ballots, especially in a world that votes (chooses to oppose His way) mainly against Him.
CELESTIAL EVENTS FOR DECEMBER
December 10 – Mars and Spica in conjunction
On December 10, the planet Mars (Michael the Warier Angel) and the star Al Zimach (Spica) in the constellation Bethulah (Virgo) will come into conjunction or the same celestial longitude. Al Zimach means the Branch.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, That I will raise unto David a righteous Branch and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days, Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name, whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jeremiah 23:5, 6
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place and he shall build the temple of the LORD.
Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Zechariah 6:12, 13
Charts 175 and 176 show the positions and conjunction of the planet Mars and the star Spica (Al Zimach) in Bethulah as seen rising over the eastern horizon from Jerusalem at 2:56 a.m. Jerusalem Standard Time on December 10, 2000. The celestial longitudinal lines on Chart 176 run from the upper left to the lower right of the chart.
The yearly Geminid Meteor Shower is scheduled to peak on the night of December 12-13. The following is from Sky & Telescope.
“This is the only major meteor shower known to be associated with an asteroid (3200 Phaethon). It will peak on the night of December 12-13, 2000. An observer may see 80 meteors in an hour under moonless, rural skies from late evening through dawn. A suburban observer may see only 30 or fewer per hour. Unfortunately the nearly-full Moon riding high in Gemini will spoil much of the show.”
“For the Northern Hemisphere observers favored by the Geminids, mid-December is a mighty cold time for lying on one’s back at night staring up at the sky.
But experienced meteor shower watchers know better; indeed, many of them favor Geminids over August’s better-known Perseids as the year’s most satisfying shower. And for good reason. The shower’s shooting stars radiate from a point (at 7h30m, +33 degrees, near Castor) that is nearly as far from the Sun as one can get in mid-December. As a result, the radiant rises to a respectable elevation only a few hours after sundown and remains high for the rest of the night, crossing the zenith around 2 a.m. (for observers in midnorthern latitudes, that is). This means you can see the shower at a reasonably convenient hour – any time after about 10:00 p.m. The activity peak lasts for about a day, enabling all longitudes to share in the action, and it is generous: In recent years Geminid meteors have come at maximum rates of 110 to 130 hourly as seen by a single observer under ideal conditions. (Light pollution greatly cuts the numbers).”
The radiant of this shower is near the star Castor (Apollo) which means ruler, or judge and is in the constellation Gemini whose main theme is Messiah’s reign as Prince of Peace. The Hebrew name for the constellation is Thaumim, which means united. The name in the ancient Denderah Zodiac is Clusus, or Claustrum Hor:, which means the place of Him who cometh. The other bright star in the other head of the constellation has the Latin name Pollux. The names Castor and Pollux are mentioned in Acts 28:11.
The sun will reach Winter Solstice at 8:27 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, 2000. The sun reaches its furthest point south on the celestial grid at approximately -23.5 degrees south of the celestial equator at the Winter Solstice point, which is also at 18 hours right ascension. This is also the first day of winter and the shortest day (as far as daylight) of the year for those who live north of the equator. The Winter Solstice point is in the constellation Sagittarius.
There will be a partial eclipse of the sun on the morning and afternoon of December 25, which will be visible throughout most of the United States, especially to those who live in the northern latitudes. December 25 is the fourth day of Hanukkah this year.
Chart 177 shows the position of the sun and moon in the bow of the constellation Sagittarius as seen from Boston, Massachusetts at 12:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 25. The planet Mercury (Gabriel) is also in conjunction with the sun and moon at the time of the eclipse. The sun and moon will be seen in this position (in the bow of Sagittarius) from all locations where the eclipse is visible. The eclipse will not be visible from Israel. The eclipse will peak around 12:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and 8:15 a.m. Pacific Standard Time for those on the West Coast.
Chart 178 shows a zoomed in view of the event as seen from Boston. The moon will not cover this large of an area on the sun for viewers watching the eclipse from the West Coast.
The main theme of the sign Sagittarius is The Redeemer’s Triumph. The following is from E.W. Bullinger’s The Witness of the Stars, pp. 62-63.
“This is the concluding chapter of the first great book of this Heavenly Revelation; and it is occupied wholly with the triumph of the Coming One, who is represented as going forth “conquering and to conquer.
The subject is beautifully set forth in the written Word (Ps. 45:3-5)
“Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty
[Gird Thyself] with Thy glory and Thy majesty,
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously,
Because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness;
And thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies;
Whereby the people fall under Thee.”
John, in his apocalyptic vision, sees the same mighty Conqueror going forth. ‘I saw (he says) a white horse, and He that sat on him had a bow,… and He went forth conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). (note: the h’s in he are capitalized by E.W. Bullinger here; they are not capitalized in the King James Version which he quoted).
This is precisely what is foreshadowed in the star-pictured sign now called in the modern Latin name Sagittarius, which means the Archer.
The Hebrew and Syriac name of the sign is Kesith, which means the Archer (as in Gen. 21:20). The Arabic name is Al Kaus, the arrow. In Coptic it is Pimacre, the graciousness, or beauty of the coming forth. In Greek it is Toxotes, the archer, and Latin Sagittarius.”
It is interesting that Bullinger seems to postulate here that the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is the Messiah. In his book Commentary on Revelation, which was written some years later, he postulates that this rider is the anti-christ. It is also interesting that the archer in Gen. 21:20 is none other than Ishmael. And the debate goes on.
The early evening sky of December 29 will be graced with Venus shining at a brilliant magnitude of –4.2 next to the bright crescent Moon in the constellation Capricornus. It will be well worth your time to observe this celestial spectacle.
As I was just about to put the finishing touches to the newsletter, I suddenly had an urge to take a look at the Comet Observation Home Page, which I haven’t looked at in the past few days. Things have been pretty dry as far as comets go for the past four months. Much to my surprise I found the following article.
Bright New Southern Hemisphere Comet – “IAUC 7526 (November 26, 2000) announced the discovery of Comet C/2000 W1 (Utsunomiya-Jones) at 8th magnitude. [And you thought Hyakutake was hard to pronounce – my note]. This is an unusual discovery for several reasons…first and foremost, LINEAR or some other automated system failed to find it…giving hope that a few comets will actually have the names of people associated with them. Second, this comet was moving so fast that after it was discovered by Syogo Utsunomiya (Japan) on the 18th of November, a number of attempts to confirm the discovery were unsuccessful. The comet was independently discovered by Albert F. Jones (Nelson, New Zealand) while observing the variable star T Aps. Jones, a well-known comet observer, may be, at 80 years old, the oldest comet discoverer on record. Mr. Jones also discovered a comet in 1946!
An Extremely preliminary orbit gives the perihelion date as December 26 with a perihelion distance [closest approach to the sun] of 0.32 AU [about 30 million miles]. The comet has reached its southern most declination (~ -77) and will be heading northward, but with decreasing elongation from the Sun. The comet is currently about 7th magnitude and is expected to not change in brightness much into early December. Once the orbit has been updated, I will update the prospects for this comet.”
There is a slight possibility that this comet will brighten to naked eye visibility as it approaches the sun. At the very least, it should be seen with binoculars. The comet passed its closest approach to Earth on November 25 at a distance of 0.28 AU (26 million miles). With the latest known orbital elements, the comet’s orbital period is 744 years.
Charts 179 and 180 show the path of Comet C/2000 W1 from December 2, 2000 to January 7, 2001 in none other than the constellation Sagittarius. (Already a lot going on in this constellation in December – this seems to add some icing to the cake). The curvature to the comet’s orbital path sort of looks like the bowstring pulled back to its full.
Charts 181 and 182 show the position of Comet C/2000 W1 at 8:42 p.m. Jerusalem Standard Time on December 25, 2000. These charts show the heavens as seen from Jerusalem about four hours after sunset. The constellation would be pretty much set below the horizon in Jerusalem at that time. This view, time and date was picked to show the relation of the comet to the conjunction of the sun, moon and Mercury. The comet is near the head of Sagittarius. There will not be enough light blocked from the sun during the eclipse (visible in the U.S.) to darken the skies enough to see the comet at that particular time, though it will be visible after sunset, at least through binoculars.
The comet will enter the head of Sagittarius on December 26 as it reaches perihelion (closest approach to the sun).
Going by the orbital data that I have thus far, Comet Utsunomiya-Jones (C/2000 W1) will again pass by Earth in early to mid-March 2001, but at about 3 times the distance that it passed on November 25. This may be subject to change. The comet will be in the constellation Virgo during that time, after passing above the eastern foot of Ophiuchus (the wounded foot of the woman’s seed) and also after passing above the wounded head of the scorpion (the serpent and the serpent’s seed).
And I thought that the month of December was going to be astronomically dry. After looking at these events in the light that they are layed out, all I can say now is, WOW! I did not fully comprehend this until the last few hours. I had my ideas on what to write in this newsletter and how to lay it out, but YAHWEH had a better idea and prevailed. Praise YAHWEH!!!
YAHWEH bless you in His super-abundance of grace, mercy and love through His Son, Yahshuah HaMashiach.