Jeans in Calgary: The Star of Bethlehem: Comet or Not?

In by Mark McEwanLeave a Comment

Event Details

FREE PUBLIC EVENT: Ambrose University and the CSCA present a public lecture with a Christmas theme from Dr. Stephen Jeans (developer and instructor of Ambrose University’s Earth and Space Science courses).


Stephen Jeans
"Star of Bethlehem: Comet or not?"

Saturday | 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm | Airhart Theater, Ambrose University

Find more events in Calgary, AB

The Star of Bethlehem: Comet or Not?

A presentation on faith and science by Dr. Stephen Jeans, developer and instructor of Ambrose University’s Earth and Space Science courses.

Let’s celebrate together a visitor from the East to help guide us to Christmas!

Ambrose University welcomes the larger community where we serve for a family-friendly academic evening that includes a scientific lecture with beautiful images of the nighttime sky and a message of joy along with an opportunity to see a real comet (46P) rise in the East over Calgary’s children this December.

Refreshments provided during the lecture!
Dress warm, to possibly observe a comet for a half-hour outside (if skies cloud-over event continues in the Ambrose Atrium).
Telescopes and astronomers will be on-site (feel free to bring binoculars if you have them).

Lecture Abstract

The Magi saw His star and came to worship Him, but what did they observe in the sky? Modern scientific knowledge of our planet and celestial occurrences, especially from astronomy, complement a growing understanding of what an ancient near east biblical account records two millennia ago — the Star of Bethlehem.

Many theories, and many works of art since ancient times, suggest that a comet may have been the starry messenger that rose in the East, stopping and staying over the place where Jesus lay.  One such comet is coming to the night sky above Calgary this December, Comet 46P/Wirtanen will be rising in the East most evenings in the middle of the month and almost naked-eye visible against the light-pollution of our city as viewed from Ambrose University.

Come to an evening of beautiful images, from the night sky and outer space, which begin to explain current findings about comets and other natural phenomena of our universe including stars and novae that may have been the sign of the nativity. This presentation is about an hour of full-colour space images (mainly from ground-based astrophotographers and space-based NASA telescopes) and includes some analysis of biblical accounts to suggest how/what might have been the Christmas star of the Magi.

Content and the level of reading will be introductory, which is friendly to the general public with a strong hint of academia.  At the conclusion of the slide presentation questions will be taken from the audience on this topic and related science themes by Dr. Jeans.

Following the lecture will be a gathering either indoors or outdoors for instructions on how to find and observe Comet 46P by Dr. Jeans and astronomers of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Telescopic equipment will be on-site to demonstrate comet-hunting techniques and to help educate members of the public on using any equipment they may bring to this special Christmas Star Party.  If the sky is cloud free (and weather permitting) everyone attending is welcome to look through the telescopes on-hand for locating and observing Comet 46P.

Stephen Jeans has degrees in science and education along with a passion for communicating about both and how they intersect with faith. Academia-oriented outreach is a specialty of his, which includes educating through hands-on workshops in science-technology, giving talks on topics ranging from cosmology to climate change, and engaging participants to explore through field trips and star parties the wonders of our world. Along with research, writing, and teaching at other institutions, Dr. Jeans develops and delivers Earth and Space Science courses (astronomy, geology, and physical geography) for Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta.

Leave a Comment