North Star’s Age?

At Jesus’s birth the North Star appeared telling the wise men to come worship him. That made me wonder about the age of the North Star. I wanted to know if science says its 2,000 years old. When I tried looking for answers I found an article that was dated from 1997 that instead said that the North Star has changed over time so if that true I would need to find out which Star was the North Star and then how old it is. I was wondering if anyone else had looked into this before and what they found.

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Welcome to the forum, French. We do have a few astronomer types around who could probably give you a good answer regarding the movement of the star Polaris, but the question I have is why you think they were following the North Star? I have heard theories as to it being a planetary confluence or a supernova, but never the North Star.

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I’ve always taken it to have been a miraculous occurrence rather than a natural one.

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These questions send me chasing rabbits, and Wikipedia has pretty good article on what stars have been the pole stars. Of course, the current North Star has been around millions of years, but just wanders into alignment with the North Pole every now and then.

That is a fair point. I’m am now realizing that the reason I thought that it was the North Star stemmed from a childhood thought. Thank you for clearing it up for me. (I am venturing back into the faith after a long absence and confess that don’t know all that much and have forgotten most of what I had learned as a child.)

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That is my opinion also, but some have advanced the idea of a natural event ( not that God could not of used a natural event, but it is hard to reconcile one with leading the wise men to specific location in Bethlehem.

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Another option is the Magi were astrologers and they didn’t use the star for navigation but as a sign that the time foretold had arrived. They knew where to go before hand.

Opinion or not, the point of what I was trying to figure out was based on a misconception. When I looked at the actual scripture it never says that it’s the North Star so it is a lesson well taught for me to read more carefully without assuming so again thank you.

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Hi @French, welcome to the forum! The “North Star,” as we call it, is Polaris, in the constellation Ursa Minor. The most current scientific consensus on its age is about 70 million years. I’m not inclined to believe it was the North Star that led the magi to Jesus, since Matthew 2:2 tells us the magi arrived asking where the King of the Jews had been born, as they had seen “his star in the east…” Likely coming from Persia/Babylon, they would have headed in an easterly direction to get to Bethlehem, not a northerly one. I’ve heard a great deal of speculation about which star this was.

Honestly, I personally believe it was some temporary luminary in the night sky, perhaps a comet, if it wasn’t simply God radiating his presence in a manifest manner. Since the magi were very knowledgeable in the field of astronomy and astrology, one can assume this light in the night sky was not a previously documented star, but some new visible object or projection of God. Otherwise, I doubt the magi would have embarked on such a long trek to follow this bright object. Regardless, it had a great deal of significance to them, that they would follow it while also bringing expensive gifts fit for a king. Upon their arrival, they also ask Herod “where is he who has been born King if the Jews?” which points to some kind of divine revelation to these men. To my simplistic understanding, this divine revelation seems to insinuate an equally divine object in the sky that led the magi to Bethlehem. But that’s only one potential possibility. The Bible offers little information about the nature and origin of this “star.”

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And now that I finally posted my response, I see that everyone has basically come to the same conclusion while I was typing, so my apologies! Apparently I am in agreement with your thoughts on this, @jpm!

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Hi, French - and I too want to welcome you to the forum!

Years ago I remember seeing a lawyer (Rick Larson) give a presentation on this (here is a 2007 video of that hour long presentation). You don’t hear much about this, probably because he isn’t a scientist and he’s looking at it from an unapologetically Christian perspective. Of course I’m not obliged like so many to hold the latter against him, and I only would hold the former against him if he ignores the science. But he doesn’t. I think what he proposes is the most plausible hypothesis about this I’ve ever heard. Maybe there are others who have discounted or discredited this somehow - but none that I’ve seen (not that I’ve look hard). But I can tell you as a science-minded person myself that everything he speaks of here is well researched and quite plausible. If you can spare the hour, see what you think.

[he does speculate that one celestial event happened on a 12/25 date (2BC) which of course wouldn’t mean anything to them - and perhaps not to us either since almost nobody - as Larson mentions too - thinks Jesus was actually born on December 25th. Nor does he think that Jesus was - but he can’t resist putting that forward, perhaps as a sign to us today. So some of this on that level seems speculative. But what he says about the celestial events makes a lot of sense.]

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