Biblical Astronomy

September 1998

Editor - Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 5272, Oregon City, OR 97045-8272

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail - <> website -



On September 6, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse in the constellation Aquarius. Chart 74 shows the eclipse at 1:20 p.m., Jerusalem standard time. This eclipse will not be visible from Jerusalem, but will be visible from central to western United States. Since a penumbral eclipse has the outer shadow of the earth cast onto the moon, which is a light shadow, it is difficult to see. The eclipse will start at 2:14 a.m., PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) with the deepest shadowing at center eclipse occurring at 4:10 a.m., PDT.

Though this eclipse will not be visible from Jerusalem, it is the position of Mars during this eclipse that is of interest. Chart 75 shows the position of Mars in Cancer at the time of the eclipse. Mars is in this section of the sky about every two years. During the total lunar eclipse on September 27, 1996 (Israel time), Mars was in the same position as it is during the penumbral eclipse on September 6, 1998. Chart 76 shows the position of Mars on September 27, 1996 during the total eclipse. Compare Charts 75 and 76. Another coincidence? For Mars to be in the same general area of the sky during the two eclipses is one thing, but to be in the same coordinate is astronomically rare. See A Voice Crying in the Heavens, 2nd Edition, pp. 108-122 for information concerning the celestial and earthly events at the time of the total lunar eclipse on September 27, 1996. As you my recall, at that time there was a great portrayal in the heavens of the casting down of the Dragon and the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Also at that time there were heavy skirmishes between the Israeli Defence Forces and the PLO, and Syrian forces were massing in the north. We'll see what happens this September.

Also on September 6, during the eclipse, Venus (Jesus Christ, the King of Judah) will be in conjunction with Regulus (the King star) in Leo (Judah). The sun is also in the house of Judah (see Chart 77). At this time Saturn (Satan - the Dragon) is within the borders of the constellation Cetus, the beast from the sea (Rev. 13:1-5?). Saturn entered Cetus on July 20, 1998 and will exit on September 12, 1998. Saturn will not again enter Cetus until the year 2057.

If you do not see the penumbral lunar eclipse in the early morning hours of September 6, there is another interesting celestial event on the evening of September 6. The near full moon passes within a half of a degree from Jupiter at midnight, EDT or 9:00 p.m., PDT. The moon will pass 2 degrees south of Saturn on September 9, but this will not be visible from the U.S., though it will be visible from Jerusalem about two hours after the closest point of conjunction. Jupiter is at opposition (closest approach to the earth for the year) on September 15.

The first crescent light of the new moon will be visible from Jerusalem after sunset on September 22. There is a very slight possibility that the first crescent light will be visible from Jerusalem on September 21, but this is very doubtful since it will only be 1 percent illuminated and only 5 degrees above the horizon 5 minutes after sunset on that date. Most likely, Tishri 1 will begin at sunset on September 22, and end at sunset on September 23, which is also the date for the Autumnal Equinox. If September 11, 3 B.C. (Tishri 1 of that year) is the correct date for the Lord's birth, then September 22/23 will be the beginning of Jesus Christ's 2,001st year or the Year of our Lord, 2001, and a full 2,000 years have gone by since his birth. By western reckoning it would be considered his 2,000th birthday.


Chart 78 shows the conjunction of Venus and Mercury in Leo at 5:00 a.m. Jerusalem Standard Time on September 11, 1998. The position of the conjunction relative to Leo is very close to the same position of the well noted conjunction of Jupiter and Venus on June 17, 2 B.C., which was considered as one of the great signs of the time that the Messiah had been born. See A Voice Crying in the Heavens, 2nd Edition, last paragraph on page 76 and Chart 13 on page 79. It is interesting that this conjunction falls on September 11, which is the Gregorian date (if correct) of the birth of Jesus Christ in 3 B.C.


A new comet was discovered on August 10, by Peter Williams of Heathcote, Australia. The comet's designated name is C/1998 P1 (Williams). The comet is currently at magnitude 8 in brightness, and though it is growing slightly in brightness as it approaches the sun, it is not expected to be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye at time of perihelion which will occur on October 16, 1998. The comet will not be visible in the Northern hemisphere until late November. The comet is currently the brightest visible comet in the heavens. The below photograph of the comet was taken on August 16, by Tim Puckett and Alex Richter at the Aloe Ridge observatory, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Comet Williams entered Centaurus on August 14 and will exit on October 6/7 (first day of Tabernacles) which is the same time that Hale-Bopp exits Argo. There are now three comets in Centaurus: Hyakutake (no longer visible), SOHO 1998J1 (currently about Magnitude 12), and Williams. See the August, 1998 issue of Biblical Astronomy for the significance of the constellation Centaurus.

Comet Williams enters the constellation Hydra (the Serpent) on October 6/7 and exits on November 11. The comet will be in the tail of the Serpent when it reaches perihelion on October 16. Comet Williams will enter Virgo (the Woman) on November 11. See Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 for the Biblical significance of the Woman and the Serpent. The comet will exit Virgo on January 21, 1999 and enter Leo. It will exit Leo on February 15, 1999.


I missed this one in the August newsletter. On August 22, there was an annular solar eclipse in the constellation Leo. In an annular eclipse, the apparent size of the moon is smaller than the apparent size of the sun, and the moon is seen with a bright solar ring around it during the midpoint of the eclipse. The best place for viewing this particular eclipse was just north of New Guinea. A partial eclipse was seen from New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of southeastern Asia. The sun and the moon were very close to the star Regulus during the eclipse.

The next solar eclipse, which will be an annular eclipse, will occur on February 11, 1999 and be visible in the southern Indian Ocean, about 40 degrees below the equator. A total solar eclipse will occur on August 11, 1999 which will be visible as a partial eclipse from Jerusalem. As seen from Jerusalem, about 80 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon at the peak of the eclipse. This will give the appearance of a crescent sun. If we get that far, I will be covering that eclipse, along with other celestial events surrounding it, in greater detail in the Summer and Fall, 1999 newsletters.