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Costantino Sigismondi

Department of Astronomy

Yale University

New Haven, CT 06520-8101


Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

Viale del Parco Mellini 84

00136 Rome, Italy



International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics

Physics Department

University of Rome “La Sapienza”

Piazzale Aldo Moro 5

00185 Rome, Italy


Dorrit Hoffleit

Department of Astronomy

Yale University


Riccardo Coccioli

Physics Department

University of Rome “La Sapienza”


Presented at the 90th AAVSO Spring Meeting, May 5, 2001




We gathered the maxima of Mira Ceti (1596-2000) in order to evaluate the frequency of two consecutive bright apparitions. We did an evaluation of the correlation between two following maxima in order to verify the probability of occurrence of two consecutive bright maxima.


Analyzing the maxima of Mira, we found a probability of seeing it brighter than a Ceti once every 21 years. In this case, as in February 1997, Mira can be detected at the first sight as a new component near the most significant asterism in its zone, composed of a, g, and d Ceti.


We found also a correlation between the magnitude of two consecutive maxima described by the linear fit:


Mi+1 - Mi = - (1.10 ± 0.08) Mi + (3.74 ± 0.26), with R = -0.74.


This study was done to test whether Mira could have been the Star of Bethlehem and fulfilled the hypothesis suggested by Kepler of a new star that appeared during the triple conjunction at 1° of Jupiter and Saturn that occurred in 7-6 B.C.E.

Link to ADS abstract, article and citation information

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