Star of Bethlehem, name given to the luminous celestial object rising in the sky that, as related in the Gospel of Matthew, led the Wise Men of the East to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. According to astronomers, the phenomenon may represent the conjunction of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, or the appearance of a nova or a comet.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.