Grant J. Mathews, director of the Center for Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame, will present a lecture titledWhat and When was the Christmas Star?at7 p.m.Friday (Dec. 9) in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Gospel of Matthew records a peculiar astronomical event that occurred at the birth of Christ. For centuries, astronomers and theologians have debated the nature of the Biblical light that led the Magi to the newborn Jesus. Some have suggested it was a nova or a supernova, others suggest some other transient stellar burst.
Mathews will review the many astronomical postulates for the Christmas star and discuss recent evidence that points toward likely answers as to the nature and time of appearance of this special event. He also will discuss if this recent evidence may shed new light on the Christmas story.
The lecture is part of the Department of Physicsobservance of the World Year of Physics, a global celebration of physics and its importance in our everyday lives. The observance celebrates the 100 th anniversary of Albert Einsteinsmiraculous yearin which he published three revolutionary papers on special relativity, the photoelectric effect and Brownian motion.