Biblical Astronomy

December 2006/January 2007


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 Reports for November 2006 and the beginning of the Ninth Month on the Biblical Calendar and December 2006 and the beginning of the Tenth Month on the Biblical Calendar.


November – “On Wednesday November 22, 2006 the new moon was sighted from Israel.  The moon was first sighted from Ashdod by Magdi Shamuel at 16:40 and from Jerusalem by Roy Hoffman at 16:48.”


December – “On Thursday December 21, 2006 observers across Israel looked for the moon but it was not sighted.  All those reporting in so far reported heavy cloud coverage.  However, visibility would not have been certain even under ideal weather conditions.  Unless further observers report in that the moon was sighted from Israel (unlikely at this point but possible) we will observe New Moon day on Friday night Dec 22, 2006.”


The following report is from Roy Hoffman of the New Moon Society in Jerusalem, Israel


“The Moon was seen from Israel on Friday 22nd December 2006 despite clouds. A group of about 20 people gathered in Maale Adumim. I and a few others saw the Moon from there for brief periods through gaps in the clouds between 16:32 and 17:30.”


The next new moon is expected to be visible from Jerusalem near sunset on January 20, 2006.  According to the corrected Biblical Calendar, the first day of Hanukkah (Kislev 25) in 2006 started at sunset December 16 and ended at sunset December 17.   The eighth day of Hanukkah started at sunset on December 23, and ended at sunset on December 24.  I realize how late this info is reaching you.  I fell ill and had a number of problems.  I am still under the weather but am doing better.  I hope to have future publications done in a timelier manner.


The simulation below shows the position of the new moon for the beginning of the Ninth Month (Kislev) near sunset on November 22, 2006 in the Sign Scorpio.



The sun and four of the five bright planets are in the near vicinity.  Three of the planets – Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – were on a rendezvous for a close massing on December 10/11, 2006.




In early December the planets Jupiter (Zedek), Mars (Adom) and Mercury (Catab) came into a close conjunction in the constellation and sign Scorpio.  In their Biblical portrayals in the war between the woman and the woman’s seed against the serpent and the serpent’s seed, Jupiter represents either Yahweh or Yahshua Messiah; Mars represents Michael the warrior archangel and Mercury represents the messenger archangel (announcing or proclaiming what is to come or   sounding the trumpet).   The scorpion represents the serpent’s seed.  The Hebrew name for the constellation Scorpio is Akrab which means the conflict, or war.  This is a major constellation that portrays the conflict or war between the woman’s seed and the serpent’s seed. 


From early through mid December the planets Jupiter, Mars and Mercury came into conjunction with one another and massed in Scorpio and partially in Libra.  The below charts show the positions of the planets on December 8 through December 11 2006.  The planets would not label for the charts for December 9 and 10.


December 8, 2006


December 9, 2006


In the triangulation in the above chart, Mercury is on the right, Mars below center, and Jupiter is on the left.  The blue dot on the left side of the chart is the Sun.


December 10, 2006


December 11, 2006


Chart 426 shows the positions of the three planets in the head and the arm of the claw of the Scorpion as seen from Jerusalem about 25 minutes before sunrise on December 10, 2006.


Chart 426 – Jupiter, Mars and Mercury massed in Scorpio on December 10, 2006


Chart 427 gives a more realistic look as the planets appeared above the east-southeast horizon as seen from Jerusalem at 25 minutes before sunrise on December 11, 2006.  The brighter planet in the center of the triangle is Jupiter.  Mercury is to the lower left of Jupiter and Mars to the lower right.



Chart 427 – Massing as seen from Jerusalem 25 minutes before sunrise on December 11, 2006


These planets mass in the constellation Scorpio about every 12 years.  It was in November 1995 that the planets Jupiter, Venus and Mars came into a close massing in Scorpio.  At that time I believed that this massing was portraying the beginning of the final conflict (including the great tribulation), considering the great signs that followed over the next 7 or 8 years.  That sign occurred in the evening sky.  This massing occurred in the morning sky and in the rising of the sun.


The Magi first saw “His star” in the east as mentioned in Matthew 2:2 around the time of the birth of the Messiah.  The English words “in the east” is from the Greek word en te anatole which literally means “in the rising” referring to the rising of a star shortly before sunrise.  In astronomy this is called the heliacal rising of a star.  To the star gazers of that time, the rising of a star or planet just before sunrise was particularly significant in interpreting events relating to important people. (from The Star of Bethlehem: The Star That Astonished The World by Earnest L. Martin, p.47).  It was Jupiter or Zedek that was and is His star that was seen in the east, “in the rising” by the Magi as they reported to Herod in Matthew 2:2.  


After a bright planet was seen in the rising, stargazers would pay particular attention to it over the following months to see what other events occurred around it.  From 3BC to 2 BC there were a number of astronomical events that occurred in the constellation Leo (Arieh) the lion (the Lion of the Tribe of Judah) that convinced the Magi that the Messiah, the King of Israel was born.


With modern technology, we no longer need to wait to see what the planets do in their courses, or when they come into conjunction or mass, etc.  When I originally started this article back in early December, I looked ahead to see if there were other celestial events of interest around the planet Jupiter or in the constellation Scorpio.  I found nothing over the next year or two of great significance.


Then, as I climbed back in the saddle, I saw an article on a very bright comet that is now becoming much talked about in astronomical circles.  Though this comet may become a –0.8 magnitude object (about 40 times brighter than Venus) it will be too close to the sun to be easily seen with the naked eye, if seen at all with the naked eye.




On August 7, 2006, Robert H. McNaught discovered a new comet soon after named and designated Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1).   At that time it was a very dim object fainter than Pluto.  It has recently been determined that the comet will soon reach a brightness up to 40 times the brightness of Venus (that remains to be seen).  We will know more over the next few weeks.


Chart 428 shows the path of Comet McNaught 2006 P1 from November 11, 2006 to January 22, 2007.  The comet passes from the constellation Ophiuchus in the sign Scorpio to and through the constellation and sign Sagittarius.  Ophiuchus portrays the struggle between the woman’s seed and the serpent.  Sagittarius portrays the woman’s seed coming to defeat the enemy and its decan constellation Draco, portrays the casting down of the dragon to the earth.  (See the features on the Signs and constellations Scorpio, Ophiuchus, and Sagittarius with its decan constellations in the July 2005, June 2006 and July 2006 through November 2006 issues of Biblical Astronomy  for more information on their Biblical meanings).


Chart 428 – Path of Comet McNaught from November 1, 2006 to January 22, 2006


Chart 429 shows the position of the comet in the wing of constellation Sagittarius on January 12 when it should be around its peak brightness.  The sun is also in the wing of Sagittarius at that time.  Sagittarius will be seen “in the rising” with the sun it its wing at this time.  This reminds me of the scripture from Malachi 4:2:


“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.  And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.  Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things, says the LORD Almighty.”



Chart 429 – Comet McNaught at its brightest on January 12, 2007


The chart below shows the position of Comet McNaught in the constellation Ophiuchus in the sign Scorpio on December 10, 2006 during the massing of the planets Jupiter, Mars and Mercury.  The comet is in the tail of the serpent being held by the woman’s seed.



The following is from a Sky & Telescope news release written by Roger W. Sinnott on January 4, 2007 concerning Comet McNaught.


January’s Surprise Comet


“A major comet, known as Comet McNaught or C/2006 P1, is right now making its way through the inner solar system. It’s already as bright as the brightest stars, but it is also sticking close to the glare of the Sun. For this reason the general public won’t be gathering on street corners to gaze at it, as they did Comet Hyakutake (in 1996) or Comet Hale-Bopp (1997). But amateur astronomers in north-temperate latitudes, with their observing know-how, have an excellent chance of spotting Comet McNaught in the next week or so, very low in the bright glow of evening twilight.


Robert H. McNaught discovered this unexpected visitor last August 7th with the 24-inch Uppsala Schmidt telescope on Siding Spring Mountain in Australia. It was then in Ophiuchus and much fainter than Pluto, but calculations at the Minor Planet Center soon showed that it would brighten dramatically. It was inward bound toward perihelion on January 12th, due to pass just 0.17 astronomical unit from the Sun (half Mercury’s distance). But it has recently been lurking beyond the Sun, as seen from Earth, so the prospects for a bright comet were difficult to assess until the start of this year.


Far-northern observers were among the first to spot the comet visually in binoculars and small telescopes. On December 29th, Bjorn H. Granslo in Fjellhamar, Norway, glimpsed the 4th-magnitude, tailless object in his 4-inch refractor. Near Duluth, Minnesota, Bob King found it in his 10-inch reflector on the morning of January 2nd. “I will not soon forget this kernel of a comet in a pale blue sky,” he posted to the Yahoo comets mailing list. By next morning, John Bortle in Stormville, New York, judged it “not fainter than 2nd magnitude” in 15x80 binoculars.


How bright will Comet McNaught get? Complicating any guesstimates is the fact that it passes almost between Earth and Sun. For example, Joseph N. Marcus has assessed the degree to which the comet’s gas and dust will forward-scatter sunlight in a paper posted on Astrosite Groningen. He concludes this enhancing effect could help the comet reach magnitude –3 to –5, about as bright as Venus!


At this writing, for high-latitude observers, the comet is equally easy to spot both before dawn and after sunset. (Make that equally difficult.) After January 6th it becomes mainly an evening target. But no matter where you live it stays lower than Venus in the bright twilight throughout the next week or so, as shown in the diagram above.


Observers at tropical latitudes will have an even harder time keeping up with this comet; for them its path runs closer to the evening twilight horizon. Right after mid-month, however, it becomes visible to those living at the southern latitudes of Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. The comet will climb in their evening sky toward month’s end, but by then it will be fading fast.”


Below is a picture of the comet taken by Austrian astrophotographers Michael Jaeger and Gerald Rhemann about an hour before sunrise on December 30, 2006.  The comet at that time was en te anatole – “in the rising.”


Comet McNaught


The following article is from a news release written by Joe Rao on January 4, 2006 concerning Comet McNaught.


Bright New Comet Could Become Brilliant


“A newfound comet is about to loop around the Sun and might offer skywatchers a rare and fantastic view. But comets are unpredictable, and this one has a wide range of possible outcomes, experts say.


When Australian astronomer Robert McNaught announced Aug. 7 that he had discovered a faint comet on a photograph taken at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, it was a distant and inconspicuous object.  But its orbital motion at once made it clear that this comet, officially catalogued as C/2006 P1, might grow very bright right about now. 


Comet McNaught's orbit [video] indicates that it will sweep to within just 15.8 million miles (25.4 million kilometers) of the Sun on Jan. 12.  This rather close approach—less than half the average distance of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun—suggests the comet has the potential to briefly evolve into a bright object. The big question is, just how bright?


Brighter than Venus?


Recent estimates have ranged widely from magnitude +2.1 (about as bright as Polaris, the North Star) to a dazzling -8.8 (about 40 times brighter than Venus)!  


[The lower the magnitude number, the brighter the object. The brightest stars in the sky are categorized as zero or first magnitude. Negative magnitudes are reserved for the most brilliant objects: the brightest star is Sirius (-1.4); the full Moon is -12.7; the Sun is -26.7. The faintest stars visible under dark skies are around +6.]


The reason for the great uncertainty stems from the fact that for the past few weeks the comet has been positioned at such a relatively small angular distance from the Sun in the sky that it has been extremely difficult to get good measurements of its brightness.  Now, with a little over a week to go before the comet makes its closest approach to the Sun (called perihelion), just how bright it may ultimately get and how long a tail may develop remain to be seen. 


Predicting a newly discovered comet's brightness has proven historically to be difficult, especially around the time of perihelion.


Spot it now


This is the 31st comet to bear McNaught's name and at time of discovery, it was no brighter than magnitude 17—far to dim to see with the naked eye. 


Observers have followed its gradual brightening as its distances from Sun and Earth decreased.   It's currently both a morning and evening object, visible very low near the east-southeast horizon about 30 to 40 minutes before sunrise and very low near the west-southwest horizon about 30 to 40 minutes after sunset. 


During this upcoming week, prospective observers should seek the most favorable conditions possible.   Even a bright comet can be obliterated by thin horizon clouds, haze, humid air, smoke, twilight glow, city lights, or moonlight.  Binoculars are strongly recommended for locating it.


But the past few days, reports suggest that Comet McNaught is becoming easier to sight even through the bright twilight glow.  [Sky Maps: Morning, Evening]


Bright outlook

David Moore reported seeing the comet on New Year's Day evening from Dublin, Ireland. He writes: "After searching for over half an hour in strong twilight I saw it easily in 20x80 binoculars from an upstairs window.  I could see a small fuzzy and surprisingly bright head about as bright as the mag 3.5 star Lambda Aquilae 6 degrees above it. That said, it was not an easy observation given the strong twilight and the comet was only 3.0 degrees above the horizon!"


Well-known comet observer, John Bortle of Stormville, New York caught sight of the comet just before sunrise with 15 x 80 binoculars on Jan. 2. 


"My eastern view was largely obstructed by trees," Bortle said. "Still it was somewhat amazing to see the comet against such a bright sky and through all those tree branches!  From experience in making similar observations, I'd judge that it was not any fainter than 2nd magnitude."


Regardless of just how bright Comet McNaught becomes, beginning on Friday, Jan. 12 and continuing through Monday, Jan. 15, it will be passing through the field of view of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ("SOHO"); a spacecraft that was launched in 1995 to study the Sun.


Astronomers hope to get spectacular views of the comet by utilizing SOHO's LASCO C3 camera, whose images can also be viewed in real time here.”  


If these signs are pointing toward the imminent return of Messiah we will soon know.  If not, then we still have the years 2040 to 2047 to look forward to.


Yahweh bless you.


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