Biblical Astronomy


July 2003


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

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





Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem Israel compiled the following New Moon Report for July 2003 and the beginning of the fourth month on the Hebrew calendar.


“On Monday June 30, 2003 observers across Israel looked for the new moon but it was not sighted despite excellent visibility conditions.  With 0.99% illumination and 54 minutes lag-time, the potential visibility was classified as “borderline” meaning visibility could only be determined by an actual sighting.  We expect to receive further reports tomorrow from more observers, however, all the observers so far reported that the moon was not sighted.”


“On Tuesday July 1, 2003 the New Moon was sighted by numerous observers across Israel.  The moon was first sighted by Michael Rood at 19:52 from Jerusalem and afterwards by numerous other observers from different locations.”  


The next new moon, which will be the beginning of the fifth month on the Hebrew calendar, the month of Av, is expected to be visible from Jerusalem around sunset on July 30, 2003.




On July 8, 2003 the planets Venus (the Bright and Morning Star) and Saturn (Satan) came into a close conjunction in the constellation Gemini.  Chart 320 below shows the position of the two planets in the left foot of the left figure of Gemini. This foot is the foot that crushes the adversary. The main star in the leg that this foot is attached to is Mebsuta, which means treading under foot.


Chart 320 – Venus/Saturn conjunction in Gemini on July 8, 2003


The planet Mercury (Gabriel) and the Sun are seen here in the midst of the two figures.




The moon occulted (passed over) Mars (Michael) on July 17, 2003.  This occultation was not visible from Jerusalem or throughout most of the United States, except from southern Florida.


Chart 321 below shows the positions of the moon and Mars in the constellation Aquarius during the occultation.  The Hebrew name for the star below the moon in the lower leg (named Skat here) is Scheat, which means who goeth and returneth.


Chart 321 – Moon occults (passes over) Mars on July 17, 2003


Below is a picture from the Sky & Telescope Website that shows the reappearance of Mars at the end of this occultation.






On July 25, 2003 Jupiter (Tzedeq) and Mercury (Gabriel) will rendezvous for a close conjunction in the constellation Arieh (Leo), the Lion of the Tribe and House of Judah.   Chart 322 below shows the position of these planets at the time of the conjunction in the left foot of the lion.  This is a prelude to a special massing of Jupiter, Venus, the sun, and the star Regulus (treading under foot) in the constellation Arieh in late August, which will be covered in next month’s newsletter.


Chart 322 – Jupiter/Mercury Conjunction on July 25, 2003


      The scepter shall not turn aside from


        nor a  Lawgiver from between his feet,

        until Shiloh comes;

        and to Him is the obedience of peoples.”

                        Genesis 49:10 (The Scriptures)            


      “He shall eat up the nations his enemies

        And shall break their bones,

        And pierce them through with his arrows,

        He couched, he lay down as a lion,

        And as a great lion; who shall stir him up?”

                        Numbers 24:8, 9 (KJV)


      “The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man,

        He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war;

        He shall cry, yea, roar;

        He shall prevail against His enemies.”

                        Isaiah 42:13 (KJV)




Mars continues to brighten, as it gets closer to the earth.  It now appears as a bright object which at this time, mid July 2003, is best seen between 3:30 am and 4:30 am local time when it is near due south or at due south and at its zenith.  The red planet will continue to brighten and will be much brighter in late August when it will reach its closest approach to Earth in human history on August 27.


The best time for viewing Mars in late August will be between 1:10 and 1:50 local time (it reaches zenith around 1:20 local time.  It will be visible however after sunset and seen above the southeast horizon through the southern horizon as it rises to its zenith throughout the evening.


There will be more on Mars in next month’s newsletter.




The star Antares, which name means rival of Mars in Latin, in the heart of the scorpion is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.  This constellation represents the enemy of the woman and the woman’s seed.


The star in the head of the scorpion, Dschubba (also known as Delta Scorpii) has been brightening over the last three years.  I have done an article and a number of updates on this star in past newsletters.  It was expected by most astronomers that this brightening would only last about a year, but it has now been three years and it is still brightening.  Below is a picture of the constellation Scorpius showing the position of Delta Scorpii.



The following article on this star is from Sky & Telescope News.


Delta Scorpii Still Showing Off

By Alan M. MacRobert


June 25, 2003 |” For the fourth summer in a row, the head of the bright constellation Scorpius carries a note of excitement. Delta Scorpii, normally magnitude 2.3, became a variable star in July 2000, flaring in a matter of weeks to magnitude 1.9. In the next few months it dipped almost back to normal, then rebrightened. It has fluctuated between about magnitude 2.0 and 1.6 ever since. As of a few days ago it was hovering at 1.6 or 1.7, barely under the official definition of a 1st-magnitude star (1.5). "The outburst keeps gaining strength," writes its discoverer, Sebastián Otero of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The naked-eye look of Scorpius is visibly changed from its age-old state, and Delta stands out as the brightest thing in the big swath of sky between Antares and Spica.


Delta Sco is a large, hot, rapidly rotating star of spectral type B0 about 400 light-years away. Spectra show that it began throwing off luminous gas from its equator when the outburst began. A fainter companion star orbits it in a very eccentric, looping orbit; the two stars swing close by each other (separated by about 20 times the primary star’s diameter) every 10.6 years. The last time this happened was in the summer of 2000, suggesting that this particular pass somehow triggered the flare-up. No one knows what Delta Sco will do next.”





Biblical Astronomy subscriber Judy Gassett sent the following article to me.  Thanks Judy, I somehow missed this one.


Comet Could Brighten Night Skies Next Spring

Fri May 16, 9:57 AM ET

By Joe Rao,


“Mark your calendars for this time next year, when a rare, bright naked-eye comet might grace the spring evening sky. Then again, maybe not.


Back on Aug. 28, 2001, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the discovery of a new comet spotted by Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team at Palomar Observatory in southern California. Like several other comets, this one has come to be called NEAT, the acronym for the discovery program. 


The comet should not be confused with another that recently looped around the Sun and that also bore a NEAT moniker. That comet NEAT was designated C/2002 V1. The comet NEAT anticipated for next year has been designated as C/2001 Q4.


The potential


The potential for a bright comet show for the spring of 2004 is based on an improved orbit that places the new comet NEAT’s closest point to the Sun, or perihelion, at a distance of 89.4 million miles (143.9 million kilometers) on May 15, 2004


The comet was nearly a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) from the Sun when it was discovered. At that time it was shining at magnitude 20, or more than 398,000 times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the unaided eye. Most comets would be completely invisible at such a tremendous distance, even to the telescope that found it, so the implication is that Comet NEAT C/2001 Q4 may be an unusually large and active object. 


The comet has brightened noticeably since its discovery, but is still very faint -- only about magnitude 14, still some 1,600 times fainter than the threshold of naked-eye visibility. It is located within the faint constellation of Fornax, the Furnace. It cannot be observed at the present time, since this part of the sky is only above the horizon during the daytime.


Sizzle of fizzle?


Most new comets are notoriously unpredictable, and there is no guarantee that comet NEAT won’t fizzle. The big question is whether this activity is the sign of a truly great comet or just a temporary flare-up of an ordinary one.  


A "new" comet in a parabolic orbit – that is, a comet that has never passed near the Sun before – may be covered with very volatile material, such as frozen carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide. These ices tend to vaporize far from the Sun, giving a distant comet a surge in brightness that can raise unrealistic expectations. Several such flops appeared last century. 


If you are at least 35 years old, you might remember the big build-up – and subsequent letdown – for comet Kohoutek during the Christmas season of 1973.  


Kohoutek was discovered more than nine months before it was due to sweep around the Sun. At the time of its discovery in March 1973 it appeared unusually bright for a comet so far out from the Sun (more than half a billion miles). Some touted it as potentially the "Comet of the Century." Most astronomers hoped that if it was so bright and unusual at its discovery, that it would keep on being bright and unusual as it neared the Sun.  


But it merely remained unusual rather than getting very bright.  


In fact, except at the time of its perihelion, when astronauts on board the Skylab Space Station caught a glimpse of it shining brilliantly next to the Sun, to earthbound observers Kohoutek hardly appeared very bright at all. Many who looked skyward – often through light polluted city skies – could barely perceive the object without binoculars or telescopes. 


Comet Cunningham in 1940-41 and Comet Austin in 1990 proved similarly disappointing.


Not-so-NEAT calculations


On the other hand, a comet that is in an elliptical orbit and returning to the Sun from the distant past has probably shed its highly volatile materials, so what we would be seeing is the true underlying level of its activity. Comet Hale-Bopp, which brightened the night sky during the late winter and spring of 1997, fell into this class. 


Unfortunately, as of this writing, calculations by orbital experts suggests that Comet NEAT may be traveling in a parabolic orbit, hinting that it may indeed be a new comet, like Kohoutek. This however, doesn’t automatically mean that Comet NEAT will fizzle-out, since not all-new comets become duds. Comet Arend-Roland is an outstanding exception, a first-timer that put on a spectacular show in April 1957.


If it indeed stays on its current prescribed path, Comet NEAT will pass closest to the Earth on May 7, 2004 at a distance of just under 30 million miles (48.3 million kilometers). It will appear to rise out of the evening twilight during the first week of May 2004 and move northward from Canis Major, through Cancer by midmonth and on into Ursa Major by month’s end.


And another thing


If the prospects for one bright comet doesn’t excite you, how about two?


On Oct. 29, 2002, The IAU announced the discovery by the LINEAR survey of a comet that may also become a bright naked-eye object in May 2004.


Designated C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), the comet is currently shining at around 15th magnitude. The latest orbit suggests that it will come closest to the Sun on April 23, 2004 at a distance of about 57 million miles (91 million kilometers). Comet LINEAR, however, appears to be on projected May 2004 track that would take it eastward through the constellations of Pisces, Cetus, Eridanus, Lepus and Canis Major. This would be too low in the sky and too close to the Sun, except perhaps for those at far-southerly latitudes such as Australia, South Africa.


Should either comet evolve into a bright first-magnitude object as some forecasts suggest, either or both could end up becoming striking sights one year from now, with NEAT adorning our evening sky soon after sunset and LINEAR appearing first in the morning and then later in the evening.


But if either or both turns out to be duds, they will appear as nothing more than fuzz-balls in small telescopes.


We’ll just have to wait and see. One thing is for sure: the countdown is on!”


Chart 323 below shows the position of Comet NEAT (C/2001 Q4) about 20 degrees above the horizon around 9 pm as seen from Jerusalem on May 7, 2004.  The comet is between the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor.  The comet goes through both constellations when it should be near its brightest.  In ancient planespheres, these two figures were represented by hawks or eagles; not by dogs.   These two constellations represent The exalted Redeemer and The coming glorious Prince of Princes.


Chart 323 – Position of Comet Neat around 9:00 pm Jerusalem Local Time on May 7, 2004


I have not yet found the orbital elements for Comet LINEAR (C/2002 T7), so I am unable to do charts for it.  There will be updates on these comets in upcoming issues of Biblical Astronomy.  Stay tuned.




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May Yahweh richly bless you in all spiritual and physical matters through His son Yahshua our Messiah.