Just a few of the results of a Google image search because that the native September 23, 2017 and Revelation 12.

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Originally published at The Catholic Astronomer. Re-printed right here with permission.

One day last fall I was working in my office as soon as my workdesk phone rang. It to be a leader of The Catholic Astronomer, call me v a question. He asked why the Vatican Observatory blog was complete of discussion on black holes or whatnot, as soon as there was something much more momentous to speak about.

It transforms out the the momentous thing to which mine caller to be referring was an setup of celestial bodies that will happen this year (2017) ~ above September 23. On that date, follow to various web sources, the heavens themselves will certainly be a tableau that Revelation 12 in the Bible:

A an excellent sign showed up in the sky, a woman clothed through the sun, v the moon under her feet, and also on she head a crown the 12 stars. She was with child and also wailed aloud in pain together she labored to provide birth … She gave birth to a son, a masculine child, destined to dominion all the nations with an steel rod.

On September 23, 2017 the sun will be in the zodiac constellation Virgo — “a woman clothed v the sun”. The moon will certainly be in ~ the feet that Virgo — “with the moon under her feet”. The ‘nine’ stars the the zodiac constellation Leo, plus 3 planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars), will be at the head that Virgo — “on her head a crown the 12 stars”. The earth Jupiter will certainly be in the facility of Virgo, and, together the weeks pass after September 23, Jupiter will exit Virgo come the east, past her feet, so come speak — “She was through child and also wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth”. Jupiter is the biggest of the planets, the “king” that the planets, so to speak — “She gave birth come a son, a masculine child, destined to dominance all the countries with an iron rod”.

Must this not be a authorize of other momentous, together the internet sources say? In fact, ~ researching it, I uncovered that, in just the previous 1,000 years, this same arrangement in the sky has happened in ~ least 4 times, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and also 1056.

Now, I recognize that the reader of this blog space diverse. Civilization with interest in astronomy are a varied group! and you all will have diverse reactions to this question. Few of you are probably saying ideal now, “what a bunch that nonsense!” others of you might be reasoning that my caller had actually a an excellent point, and also you would like to learn more. Fortunately, ns am a ar college professor! neighborhood college human being are the ‘A-Team’ that the academic world (as in B.A., Hannibal, and the crew native the TV show and the movie — who space tougher 보다 anyone else and also able to save the day making use of duct tape, PVC pipe, and a butane lighter). We flourish on diversity! No inquiry phases us!

We know that there room a lot of smart civilization out there who have not had actually much formal education in a topic choose astronomy, and also that interest in questions choose this mirrors a straightforward interest in astronomy linked with attention in religion and also scripture.

My caller was familiar with the Stellarium sky software. The could speak to up the skies that September 23, 2017 top top Stellarium and see because that himself the this celestial arrangement was a actual thing. His to be a reasonable question. Scientists need to have the ability to answer questions world have prefer this one, without dealing with the questions as nonsense, since the inquiries will not go away just since they space dismissed. And also thus before long ns was having actually a quite conversation v the caller, and I finished up informing him I would look into his question, and write a post on this topic.

But I stated it to be unlikely to it is in the article he to be looking for. He was OK v that.

And so, Mr. Caller:

The constellation Virgo ~ above September 23, 2017, follow to the Stellarium sky software. The moon’s dimension is exaggerated because that visibility. See the annotated picture below. Image via Christopher M. Graney.
Green arrows display the “9” stars of Leo. Blue arrows display the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Red arrowhead is Jupiter. Violet arrowhead is the moon (shown enlarged). The sunlight is at Virgo’s shoulder. Photo via Christopher M. Graney.

First, in one year, many thanks to the Earth’s yearly orbit, the sun travels the entirety of the ecliptic, and thus passes with every among the 12 constellations the the zodiac. The sunlight is in Virgo every September.

Second, in one month the moon goes v its cycle of phases, and also travels the totality of the ecliptic, and also thus passes through every constellation that the zodiac—all fan to the duration of the moon’s orbit gift one month. Therefore there is constantly a day or two each year when the sun is in Virgo and also the moon is just to the east of Virgo (just previous the “feet”).

So, the celestial “woman clothed through the sun with the moon at she feet” is as typical in September as is the U.S. Holiday of job Day.

But what the the crown the 12 “stars,” made up of 3 planets and also the nine stars that Leo? The solution to this concern is one more question — why ripe stars in Leo? There are many an ext than nine stars in Leo. Those ripe are just brighter persons that are often illustrated as making up the basic outline or form of the constellation. But in fact there space scads of stars in Leo and surrounding the “head” of Virgo.

There room many an ext than 9 stars in the constellation Leo. Photo via Christopher M. Graney.

And not all depictions the Leo present those nine together its outline. Some show the summary of Leo together consisting of 10 stars, because that example. The would give Virgo a crown that 13 stars here!

Two depictions that Leo outlined with 10 or 11 stars fairly than 9. The explicate on the left is native an astronomy publication for children; the depiction on the best is from an old National geographic atlas. Photo via Christopher M. Graney.

And yes, lot of planets gift at Virgo’s head while Jupiter is in Virgo’s center and the moon is at Virgo’s feet is somewhat unusual. However it is no that unusual. The duration of Jupiter’s orbit is a tiny less than 12 years, and also therefore Jupiter will certainly be in Virgo (with the sun there, too, and the moon in ~ the feet) once every 11 or 12 years.

So the sunlight in Virgo, the moon at Virgo’s “feet”, and Jupiter in the constellation are constant occurrences. This leaves the planets in ~ the “head” (the number depending on the number of stars granted come Leo) together the determining factor in do a “momentous” celestial arrangement. Indeed – when various internet sources speak of the specific celestial arrangement here as being “unique in human history” or “once in 7,000 years” – in fact, that is not unique to September 23, 2017.

This basic arrangement happened before — in September 1827, in September 1483, in September 1293, and also in September 1056. These are all displayed at the end of this post. I only searched back one thousands years, from 2017 to 1017 — there are indeed other instances outside of the time period, and also probably a couple examples that ns missed within that time period.

No doubt someone can go diving into the background books to scrounge up some occasions from 1827, 1483, 1293, and also 1056 the the September skies that those years supposedly foretold. That’s the method it is v astrology. A person reads his or her daily horoscope and also finds that it states “obstacles will certainly be placed in your route today.” Then, that human being picks those instances of gaining stuck in traffic, or in a lengthy line at the grocery store, or wherever, and says “hey, the horoscope to be right,” when, that course, us all conference such points every day.

It is true that astrology — reading the heavens for signs — is other astronomers supplied to think was precious (or, mine guess is that plenty of of castle pretended to think it to be valid, because it paid the bills). But astrology has been discovered to have actually no more scientific basis than Harry porter wand. The doesn’t job-related (something that does no seem come hinder its popularity). If astrology had actually anything going for it, astronomers would certainly not should go begging because that money come fund huge research. We can just use our expensive knowledge to divine which way the stock industry was going, invest accordingly, come to be “astronomically” wealthy, and also fund expensive research from ours surplus.

As the is, watching the heavens for indications of what is to come is a waste of time. And it is doubly a waste of time because “signs in the sky” appeal, for part reason, to all sorts of human being out there — all of whom have the right to use Stellarium to discover this or the momentous “sign” signifying whatever they desire to signify.

And the is why astronomers neglect the seemingly momentous celestial setup of September 23, 2017, and also talk instead around black feet or whatnot.

The constellation Virgo on September 24, 1827, according to Stellarium. In this and also the photos below, the moon’s size is exaggerated because that visibility. Photo via Christopher M. Graney.
The constellation Virgo ~ above September 6, 1483. Photo via Christopher M. Graney.
The constellation Virgo on September 5, 1293. Image via Christopher M. Graney.
The constellation Virgo on September 14, 1056. Venus and also the star Regulus in Leo are really close to one another. Image via Christopher M. Graney.

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Bottom line: native the standpoint of astronomy, there’s nothing unique or unusual around the sun, moon and also planets – or the constellation Virgo – top top September 23, 2017, despite claims on the web of a distinctive and far-ranging celestial event, supposedly “mirroring” the Bible’s publication of Revelation. In the previous 1,000 years, this same occasion has occurred at least 4 times already, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and also 1056.