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The Christmas Star, Novae, and Pulsars

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Dorrit Hoffleit

Yale University Observatory, New Haven, CT 06511




A ceiling painting in the Priscilla catacomb in Rome appears to represent a star map showing the Christmas Star. If so, this might be a portrait of the nova or comet of 5 B.C., or it could be Venus in 6 B.C.. It could not represent the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 7 B.C., which occurred in a different part of the sky.

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