Biblical Astronomy

January/February 2003


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

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                Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem, Israel compiled the following New Moon Report for the month of January, and the beginning of the 11th Hebrew month.

            “On Saturday January 4, 2003 the New Moon was sighted by Devorah Gordon at 16:50 and Nehemia Gordon at 16:51 from Jerusalem; by Gershom Ben-Naftali and Rivka Ben-Navtali from Jerusalem; by Hen-El Brill and Bruce Brill at 17:09 from Tekoa.  Hodesh Sameach (Happy New Moon Day)!,  Nehemia Gordon.”


            The next New Moon is expected to be sighted near sunset on February 2, which will be the beginning of the 12th Hebrew month Adar I.  Barring a complete miracle, there will be an extra month added to the Hebrew calendar this year (13th month), Adar II or Adar Bet.  Adar Bet will begin at sunset on March 4.





                On January 15, the planet Venus (the bright and morning star) and the star Antares (the wounding – of the enemy) in the constellation Scorpio (the conflict or war – specifically the redeemers conflict) will come into conjunction.  Chart 300 shows the position of Venus in the sign Scorpio as seen in the early morning sky from Jerusalem on January 15, 2003. 

            On January 31, the planet Mars (Michael the warrior angel, or blood, or war) and the star Antares in the constellation Scorpio will come into conjunction.  Chart 301 shows the position of Mars in the sign Scorpio as seen in the early morning sky from Jerusalem on January 31, 2003.

            If a major conflict will begin at this time remains to be seen.  But the war drums are beating.



            There will be two bright naked eye comets gracing the skies in January and February.  Tetuo Kudo of Japan discovered the first on December 14, 2002.  It also had a co-discoverer, Fujikawa, and is thus named Comet Kudo-Fujikawa.  The following is from an article released by written by their senior science wrtier Robert Roy Britt on Dec. 17, 2002 titled:

Newly Spotted Comet Visible in Small Telescopes -  “A comet recently discovered by an amateur astronomer can be spotted with small backyard telescopes and even binoculars in the pre-dawn sky.                                                                       The comet, named C/2002 X5, was found Dec. 14, by Tetuo Kudo of Japan. It is currently shining at about eighth or ninth magnitude on a scale used by astronomers to denote brightness. (Lower numbers represent brighter objects. The dimmest objects visible to the naked eye are around sixth magnitude for viewers with dark skies away from all sources of city and local lighting. The brightest objects shine at near zero or even negative magnitudes.)                                                               The comet is expected to brighten further in January when it gets closer to the Sun, according to projections made by the Minor Planet Center, which catalogues newfound comets and asteroids.                             At that time, it is possible the comet will become visible to the unaided eye, but astronomers are not yet sure.                                           Comets develop heads and tails because as they approach the Sun, some of their outer material is boiled into space, and the material reflects sunlight. All comets orbit the Sun, and those that pass through the inner solar system are typically on long, elliptical paths that bring them very close to the Sun before they swing well out into the solar system again.                                                              The comet C/2002 X5 will pass within the orbit of Mercury, the innermost planet, in January. However, by the time it brightens significantly it may be too close to the Sun to be easily seen, instead rising at dawn and near the Sun.                                  "Since the comet has only been under observation for a few days, we really can't be too certain yet as to how bright it will become," Rao said. "Unfortunately, however, even if it does become quite bright it likely will become masked by the glare of the Sun by later in January.                             When the comet swings around the Sun and emerges back into view in late February, it will only be visible from the Southern Hemisphere, in the evening sky. By then it may be fading in brightness, Rao said.”

            Chart 302 shows the path of Comet Kudo-Fujikawa from January 14, 2003 to February 3, 2003.       The comet passes down from the constellation Aquila (the eagle – the smitten one falling) to and through the constellation Capricornus (the goat of atonement slain for the redeemed).  Both of these constellations portray the sacrifice of the Messiah at the crucifixion. 

            The comet is now (Jan 28) at magnitude 5.3.

            Another potentially bright comet was discovered on November 6, 2002 by NEAT.  The following are articles from the Comet Observation Home Page from its discover and updates.


“NEAT discovers a "sungrazer"IAU Circular 8010 (November 6, 2002) announced the discovery C/2002 V1 by NEAT of a 16th magnitude comet. The preliminary orbit (MPEC V31, November 7, 2002) indicates that this comet will pass very close to the Sun on February 18, 2003. The perihelion distance is about 0.1 AU.

That is the good news...the bad news is that the comet appears to be intrinsically faint. The comet should brighten as it approaches the Sun. It should be picked up visually prior to the end of the year. Although the comet will brighten rapidly after that, its elongation will also decrease rapidly. It will still be a telescopic object as the elongation slips to under 30 degrees making it difficult to observe. A rough calculaton of peak brightness suggests that 1st-2nd magnitude will be the peak brightness... too faint to be seen close to the Sun (except by SOHO). The comet will race south and fade rapidly after perihelion. It is likely to be a telescopic object when it is picked up again.

Is it possible that the comet could be brighter? Yes. There is a real possibility that the comet could break up (as Comet West did in 1976). If the nucleus is large enough and the comet breaks up, the comet could brighten significantly. If the comet is small, the comet could just disintegrate into nothing like the SOHO comets [or like C/2002 O4 (Hoenig) apparently did]. Of course, it might not break-up at all...


C/2002 V1: What Will Happen? - The answer is...we haven't a clue. First, the facts. This comet's perihelion is very close to the Sun...0.099 AU on February 18, 2003. That is really close...about 9 million miles. It isn't obvious that the comet will survive such a close approach to the Sun.

The comet has been brightening at an amazing rate. A "typical" long period comet brightens a rate of 2.5n~7.5. Brightness predictions usually assume 2.5n=10. The comet HAS BEEN brightening at 2.5n~25! Such a rate of brightening, if sustained until perihelion, would produce an unbelievable bright comet...NO ONE should expect the comet to continue brightening at such a rate. Such a high rate of brightening is sometimes seen in periodic comets, as they approach the Sun, when they are more than 1 AU from the Sun. As they approach closer, their rate of brightening drops dramatically. C/2002 V1 is still outside the Earth's orbit (as of 1/9/03).

So, what will happen?...As I said, we really don't know. However, from past experience, the rate of brightening will drop dramatically as the comet approaches the Sun...2.5n will probably be less than 10 and could approach 0 as the comet moves towards perihelion. The comet's brightness will also depend on whether it breaks-up as it approaches the Sun. The comet could be a total fizzle or it could put on a nice show. Although I am hoping for a nice show, I am expecting the comet to fizzle.

What to look for...On or about January 20th, we will get our first look at the comet without the Moon in the sky. This will give us our first clue as to the fate of the comet and how bright it might become. csm 1/9/03

It does appear that C/2002 V1 (NEAT) has slowed down its rapid brightening. My personal guess is that the comet will fizzle with its heliocentric brightness leveling off. It is still very uncertain how bright it will become. csm 1/23/03.”                    Below is a picture of C/2002 V1 (NEAT) taken by Michael Jager on January 20, 2003.

Comet 2002 V1 (NEAT)


            Chart 303 shows the path of Comet Neat from December 25, 2001 to February 27 2003.  The comet passes through the constellation Pisces (The blessings of the redeemed in abeyance – also, the nation of Israel in bondage and affliction), then through the constellation Pegasus (The blessings quickly coming), and then through Aquarius (Their blessings ensured, or the living waters of blessing poured forth for the redeemed.  The comet is now (Jan 28) at magnitude 5.6.

            In late February the comet will be in front of the mouth of the fish Pisces Australis which is receiving the water poured forth.  This picture from the Starry Night program on Chart 303 does not do it justice.  Below is a better diagram of the constellation Aquarius and Piscis Australis.



            In most zodiacs this fish is shown as twice the size of the fish of the constellation Pisces.  Taking the analogy that the two fish of the constellation Pisces represent both houses of Israel (Judah and Ephraim) then this fish, Piscis Australis may be representative of both houses brought back together as one in Messiah and receiving the ensured blessings.

            The following is from Francis Roleston’s work Mazzaroth, written in 1862, concerning the constellation Pisces Australis.


THE SOUTHERN FISH, IN AQUARIUS - In the Greek word Ichthus has been found an anagram of "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour." It is well to see Christ wherever we can; but it is best to see Him where Scripture points Him out. No where in Scripture is He typified by a fish; but He himself applies the symbol to those who should believe, being, as it were, caught by the Gospel net: so, when in calling Peter and John He says, "I will make you fishers of men," and again, in Matthew 13:47, the net of the Gospel encloses good and bad fishes, in neither place can the figure possibly apply to Himself, but well typifies His Church.

In the Old Testament must primarily be sought the intention of the emblems of the constellations. There we find that to Adam was given dominion over the fishes of the sea, as to the second Adam over the inhabitants of the earth. In Ezekiel 47:9, 10, the type is unquestioned; the fish are the converts to the Gospel. Habakkuk also speaks of "men as the fishes of the sea."

Ichthus may well be derived from Chayith, the name used for marine creatures in Psalm 104:25. In the Southern Fish, in the name Fom al Haut, there is the same root, as also in the Arabic name Al Haut, or Hut, the fishes of Pisces. These are in Hebrew called Dagim, from multitudes of offspring, a meaning equally applicable to the symbol and to the Church as described in Isaiah 60 and in Revelation 7:9, &c., which it symbolizes.

The fish, then, "bringing forth abundantly" typifies the visible Church; the woman, the invisible, the true, the spiritual Church. The fishes "pass through the paths of the sea," as the Church through the water of baptism. The Church drinks in the influences of the Holy Spirit, as the fish of Aquarius the water poured into its mouth. The literal fish does not drink: this figure is therefore wholly typical, but surely of the recipients, not of the Giver of the water of life.

In the days of persecution the early Christians frequently made themselves known to each other by the fish engraven on their rings, signifying that they were baptized believers. It was also sometimes sculptured on their tombs, as is to be seen in the catacombs. So the beautiful token of their faith, the passion-flower, was worn by them for the same purpose, as representing the "instruments of cruelty," the crown of thorns, the nails, the cross itself: but they neither worshipped the flower nor the fish, nor with any "likenesses" of them hazarded the infringement of the second commandment. With them the fish was a symbol, but never was perverted to an idol, though in the fish-god Dagon the progressive corruption of the emblems of the constellations, first to Sabaism, and then to idolatry, has long been recognized. Dagon is now believed by Layard to have been one of the great gods of Assyria. It appears to have been a combination of the human form in Aquarius with the fish beneath.




On February 2, 2003 Jupiter (Tzedek – The Lord Our Righteousness) will be at opposition (closest approach to the earth for the year) and shinning at its greatest brilliancy for the year at a magnitude –2.59.  Chart 304 shows the position of Jupiter in the constellation Cancer (Messiah’s redeemed possessions held fast) during its opposition on February 2.  See the August 2002 issue of Biblical Astronomy for more information on the sign Cancer.





The following is an article done by Robert Roy Britt for on January 7, 2003.


SEATTLE, WA - A rare hypergiant star visible to the naked eye from Earth erupted explosively and may do so again at any time, an event that might be visible to backyard astronomers, a team of researchers said today.

The star might even disappear for a while. The eruption was recorded in early 2000 and made public here today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. A quantity of ejecta equal to 10,000 earths was shot into space, more than astronomers have ever witnessed in a single stellar eruption.

"A tremendous amount of gas was ejected, lifted into space by a blast wave," said Alex Lobel of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The phenomenon is similar to the shock wave a jet produces, which can be heard as a sonic boom. Gas rushed outward at four times the speed of sound.

Ever since the 2000 event, the star, Rho Cassiopeiae, has been restless, its atmosphere pulsating wildly, with no cadence. Its outer atmosphere now seems to be collapsing again, an event that looks similar to one that presaged the last outburst. Lobel's international team of researchers said another eruption -- possibly a stronger one -- could be imminent.

Rho Cas, as it is often referred to, is visible to skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere who have dark sky conditions away from city lights, prompting the researchers to suggest amateur astronomers might spot the next explosion. It would be evident, however, as no more than an increase in brightening and then a decrease. Lobel said it's possible the star could briefly become so dim as to be invisible to the naked eye and exit the night sky altogether, though the chances of that occurring are slim.

An eruption would pose no danger to Earth, and in fact would likely be spotted only by seasoned skywatchers who know how to navigate the sea of stars surrounding the relatively dim Rho Cas.

The star shines at magnitude 4.5 on a scale astronomers use to note brightness. Larger numbers represent dimmer objects, with magnitude 6 being about the dimmest visible to most people. Very bright stars are near or below zero magnitude.

Rho Cas is faraway compared to most stars visible at night, more than 10,000 light-years. It is visible because it is among the most massive stars known, 20 to 40 times more heavy than the Sun, and shines nearly a million times more brightly than the Sun. If it replaced our Sun, its girth would consume Earth and Mars.

Only about a dozen such hypergiants are known in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The star was first seen erupting in 1946, dimming by a factor of six, to sixth magnitude, as it lost material. But researchers learned little at the time about the eruption process. The 2000 eruption was watched by five telescopes and was also seen by some amateur astronomers around the world. The star brightened briefly, then dimmed.

Lobel's team then analyzed the event's spectra, or separated light, to determine temperature changes and learn how much material was shot into space. They also found that the star cooled by several thousand degrees during the eruption.

"We were exceptionally lucky to witness a stunning explosion in Rho Cas and to have acquired the spectra to make a quantitative analysis possible," said Smithsonian astrophysicist Andrea Dupree. The research will be detailed in the Feb. 1 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

Dupree explained what the event might look like to a viewer on a hypothetical planet surrounding Rho Cas: "The whole sky would be lit by the wrath of an angry star," she said. "I'm sure glad we're 10,000 light years away."

The events observed recently actually took place more than 10,000 years ago, for that is how long it took the light to traverse the space between the star and Earth.

All stars leak mass into space as they age. Our own Sun will begin to expire in a few billion years. The most massive stars shed matter explosively and more quickly, so they don't live long. That's why there are not many of them around. Eventually, Rho Cas will die in a final, colossal supernova explosion that will tear its nearby space apart.

Lobel said because of the star's advanced age, it could go supernova in as little as 50,000 years.” 


Chart 305 shows the position of the star Rho Cassiopeiae in the constellation Cassiopeia (The captive delivered, and preparing for her Husband the Redeemer).  The star is in the elbow of the arm that is used by “the bride” to make herself ready.  In most zodiacs, there is a comb in her hand and she is combing her hair.  The X marks the spot where a very bright supernova (star explosion) took place in 1572.  This star was almost as bright as Venus at its brightest and was visible for over 1 year.





            Besides declaring the first and second appearing of Messiah (Yahshuah HaMashiach, Jesus Christ) and his conflict with and victory over the enemy (Satan), and Messiah’s relationship to Israel, the twelve Signs of the Mazzaroth or Zodiac also represent each and of themselves the twelve Tribes of Israel.

            The following is from E.W. Bullinger’s The Witness of the Stars, 1893, pp. 17-19, concerning the twelve Signs and how they relate to the twelve Tribes of Israel.


“There can be no doubt, as the learned Authoress of Mazzaroth conclusively proves, that these signs were afterwards identified with the twelve sons of Jacob. Joseph sees the sun and moon and eleven stars bowing down to him, he himself being the twelfth (Gen 37:9). The blessing of Jacob (Gen 49) and the blessing of Moses (Deut 33) both bear witness to the existence of these signs in their day. And it is more than probable that each of the Twelve Tribes bore one of them on its standard. We read in Numbers 2:2, "Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own STANDARD, with the ENSIGN of their father's house" (RV "with the ensigns of their fathers' houses"). This "Standard" was the Degel on which the "Sign" (oth) was depicted. Hence it was called the "En-sign." Ancient Jewish authorities declare that each tribe had one of the signs as its own, and it is highly probable, even from Scripture, that four of the tribes carried its "Sign"; and that these four were placed at the four sides of the camp.

If the Lion were appropriated to Judah, then the other three would be thus fixed, and would be the same four that equally divide the Zodiac at its four cardinal points. According to Numbers 2 the camp was thus formed:-- (See Chart 306)

If the reader compares the above with the blessings of Israel and Moses, and compares the meanings and descriptions given below with those blessings, the connection will be clearly seen. Levi, for example, had no standard, and he needed none, for he kept "the balance of the Sanctuary," and had the charge of that brazen altar on which the atoning blood outweighed the nation's sins.

The four great signs which thus marked the four sides of the camp, and the four quarters of the Zodiac, are the same four which form the Cherubim (the Eagle, the Scorpion's enemy, being substituted for the Scorpion). The Cherubim thus form a compendious expression of the hope of Creation, which, from the very first, has been bound up with the Coming One, who alone should cause its groanings to cease.”


Below is a list of the sons (Tribes) of Israel with their corresponding sign and scriptures from the blessing of Jacob in Genesis 49 and the blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33.  Some of these are obvious in the connection of the Tribe to the Sign, and others are not so obvious. 


Reuben      Aquarius      Gen. 49:3,4; Deut. 33:6


Simeon      Pisces          Gen. 49:5-7


Levi           Libra           Gen 49:5-7, Deut. 33:8-11


Judah         Leo             Gen. 49:8-12; Deut. 33:7


Zebulon     Virgo           Gen. 49:13; Deut. 33:18,19


Issachar     Cancer        Gen. 49:14,15; Deut. 33:18,19


Dan           Scorpio        Gen. 49:16-18; Deut. 33:22


Gad           Aries           Gen. 49:19; Deut. 33:20-21


Asher        Sagittarius    Gen. 49:20; Deut. 33:24,25


Naphtali    Capricornus  Gen. 49:21; Deut. 33:23


Joseph       Taurus         Gen. 49:22-26; Deut. 33:13-17


Benjamin    Gemini        Gen. 49:27; Deut. 33:12  


In her book Mazzaroth, Francis Rolleston does a detailed work on this subject. Below is an excerpt from her work.  On the Biblical Astronomy Website in the Links section, Mazzaroth is available for no charge.  Or you can go directly to:  


“Allusions to the Signs of the Zodiac have often been pointed out in the blessing of Jacob (Gen 49); those in the blessing of Moses (Deut 33) have been less remarked. Unless these emblems had some signification familiar and important to the hearers, it is not to be supposed that the dying patriarch or the departing lawgiver would have adopted their imagery. If, however, they had been framed by the forefathers of mankind to transmit the primaeval revelation, it is consistent that they should again be so employed.

If, as has been shown (Table 15), their import is to be traced in the names of the antediluvian patriarchs, it is the more probable that they should afterwards be used in prophecy. It does not clearly appear whether Jacob and his wives had at first any intention of connecting the names of their children with the signs; but when Jacob changed the name Ben-oni, son of sorrow, to Ben-jamin, son of the right hand, it is probable he had in view the sign of the heavenly twins, which the tribe of Benjamin is known to have borne on its banners, under the accompanying figure of the wolf, whose name means, He cometh.

These names are subsequently consecrated to the purpose of prophecy by the command to engrave them on the stones of the oracular breastplate, and by their place on the gates of the city of Ezekiel and the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse. While in the names of the earlier patriarchs is found the Redeemer alone, in those of the sons of Jacob there is more of the peculiar people, the Church, then beginning to be set apart, but still, as in the emblems of the signs, in union with the Redeemer. The order in which their father addressed them begins with Reuben. "Behold the Son!" calling on us to look to Him, of whom Isaiah afterwards said, "Unto us a Son is given," and "Look unto Him, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." In Simeon and Levi, those that have heard and are joined together, is shown the need they have of union between themselves, and support from Him who sustains them. In Judah, the theme of our praise and the delight in offering it. In Zebulon is set forth that He shall dwell with them, and they with Him. In Issachar, the purchased possession, the reward of Messiah's sufferings. In Dan the salvation of his people is secured by his judging or ruling for them. In Gad, conformed to Him in affliction, they are with Him pierced with many sorrows. In Asher is their blessedness, in feeding on the bread from heaven. In Naphtali they are set free by his wrestling. In Joseph is shown the continual addition to the Church of such as shall be saved. In Benjamin, He who is the man of sorrows, and of God's right hand, closes, as He began, the enumeration. Ephraim, fruitfulness, and Manasseh, forgetfulness of all worldly troubles, equally suit with the place they afterwards occupied in subordination to their father Joseph.

It is not said that the gift of prophecy had been imparted to Jacob before his last illness. Perhaps from the widely diffused tradition of this prophetic effusion an idea as widely received, that dying persons speak prophetically, may have originated.

The prediction first accomplished, that the sovereignty should be vested in the tribe of Judah, is the preliminary mark giving authority to the yet unfulfilled prophecies, both of the Messiah and the tribes. As certainly as the families of the twelve patriarchs divided between them the promised land under Joshua, so certainly shall they again possess it, under Him of whom Joshua was a type. As surely as David the son of Jesse reigned upon Mount Zion, so surely unto that Shiloh, that King Messiah who is also of the line of Judah, shall be the gathering of the nations.

The blessing of Jacob contains prophecies of the Messiah, some of which are equally appreciated by Christians and by Jews. Such is that of Shiloh: but the ancient Hebrews understood far more of these predictions as relating to Him who was to come, than is in general pointed out by commentators. According to the early and most learned Jewish authorities, references to the Messiah are throughout interwoven with those to the patriarchs and the tribes. Some of these annunciations are yet unfulfilled, both as to the final triumph of the Messiah and the destiny of the tribes in their restoration to their own land. Translations, ancient and modern, vary, as in Genesis 49:26, in which the great majority give Nazir, the Nazarite, where the English has "separate." Commentators also differ; some, however, have perceived the allusions to the twelve signs, as borne on the standards of Israel, but have not consistently explained or adapted them: not even the Jewish writers who inform us that they were so borne.       However, these ancient authorities unanimously assert that Reuben bore Aquarius; Joseph, Taurus; Benjamin, Gemini under the emblem of the wolf; and Dan, Scorpio under that of an eagle, or of a crowned serpent or basilisk.

If these emblems were thus early employed by the family chosen to preserve the worship of the One true God, the idea of their origin in Egypt, then fast sinking into idolatry, becomes most improbable. On the descendants of Abraham was ever impressed abhorrence of that idolatry from which he had been called. What idolaters had invented they might not adopt: but what idolaters had corrupted they were not always commanded to abandon. The cherubic forms, afterwards perverted to the purposes of idolatry in Egypt and Assyria, are found in the four principal signs where the equinoxes and solstices of antediluvian astronomy had always occurred. These forms could not be of Egyptian invention, for they were set at the east of Eden. Jewish authorities say that "they were from the beginning in the holy tabernacle called the face of God." Had the eight intermediate signs been added by the Egyptians, the chosen family must not have intermingled the devices of man with ordinances of Divine authority. If they knew that all had been arranged to declare the glory of God and proclaim the coming Redeemer, the use of them by Jacob, and the recurrence to them by Moses, would be of obvious utility….