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Comet theory no explanation for Christmas Star

Published 22/12/2015

Colin Nicholl's claims (Life, December 18) that a 'Great Comet' can explain the Biblical account of the so-called 'Star of Bethlehem' do not stand up to scrutiny.

1. A brilliant 'Great Comet' which he claims was visible for more than a year, would have been seen all over the world. But there are no other records of such a comet, although records of other comets, including Halley's comet, go back many hundreds of years before the time of Christ.

2. Herod himself would have seen it. Yet, when the magi appeared he had not even heard of it, in spite of the fact that it had been visible at least for weeks, if not months, in order for the magi to complete their journey.

3. Even the shepherds who were tending their flocks in the fields at night did not see it.

4. A 'Great Comet', especially one in an orbit such as Nicholl proposes, would look nothing like a star.

5. Comets were well-known to ancient 'Wise Men' and so there would have been nothing significant about another one.

6. If the comet was so spectacular and brilliant, and so significant by "standing over the house where the young child lay", why then do none of the other Gospels mention it?

TERRY MOSELEY, FRAS

(Past-president, Irish

Astronomical Association)

Belfast Telegraph

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