Remember when you were in elementary school, and you studied the constellations? Your teacher told you to go home and find the big dipper, the little dipper, Orion’s belt and all those fun things. You probably came back the next day and told her you found all of them?
I was taken back to these days a few months ago when my husband and I visited a planetarium here in Huntsville. That’s right, a planet-arium. You might not realize this, but Huntsville is actually the home of the original NASA. So, planets and the stars are kind of a big deal here.
I wish I could see constellations. They are just over my head. I couldn’t see them in the fifth grade, and I still can’t today.
These guys at the planetarium could see them so easily. They knew the exact location of every star, and where it would be at certain times in the night. Once they found a focal star, they could find anything they wanted. They didn’t need any special equipment to find constellations. If we wanted to see something beyond the stars, like special star clusters or even Saturn, then they let us see that with their special telescopes.
We learned that the stars move every thirty seconds because the earth is moving, so the astrologists kept having to shift their telescopes or think about what time it was when they wanted to find certain constellations.
The Wise Men were known for this same study of the stars.
I do not understand astronomy, but my understanding from the planetarium that night is that the same basic set of stars are in the sky every night. Some experts at www.blogstronomy.blogspot.com stated this:
If you can imagine hovering in space without the Earth or the Sun in the way, you’d see the same stars in the same configuration whichever direction you looked in, which ever time you looked in it. The stars do move in relation to each other, but not so much that we can notice a change over the course of a human lifetime.
The Wise Men had been studying the stars for years. Suddenly, a new star appeared in the sky.
How did they know they were supposed to follow this star?
We will find out tomorrow!
Anyone have any guesses?