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Inicio > Historias > ¿Guio la buena estrella de Kepler a los Magos?

> ¿Guio la buena estrella de Kepler a los Magos? <

- En 1604 un estrella ‘nova’ apareció junto a Júpiter, Saturno y Marte
- Los cálculos llevaron a suponer a Kepler que esta conjunción estelar había sido la misma Estrella de Belén.

Este artículo ha sido publicado en la versión digital del periódico El País/Materia/"Crónicas de AstroManía" con fecha 4 de enero de 2016. Igualmente en el suplemento dominical IDEAS del mismo diario el 3 de enero de 2016.

Corre el otoño del año 1604 en la Corte de Rodolfo II en Praga. Un funcionario busca a toda prisa al matemático y astrónomo imperial, Johannes Kepler. La noticia no puede esperar: una nueva estrella de brillo excepcional ha aparecido en el cielo. El suceso deja atónito al sabio alemán. No es sólo que haya aparecido una estrella ‘nova’ en la constelación de Ofiuco, sino que lo ha hecho junto a una extraña conjunción de los planetas Júpiter y Saturno. Incluso Marte se ha sumado al espectáculo celeste. ¿Qué puede significar aquello? No pocos legos se apresuran a contarlo e interpretarlo, y los más coinciden en la antigua predicción: «Nova stella, novus rex» (Estrella nueva, rey nuevo).

Kepler llevaba ya un tiempo estudiando la llamada “gran conjunción”. Es el nombre que recibe la aproximación relativa de los dos planetas mayores, Júpiter y Saturno. Dados sus grandes periodos orbitales, sólo se repite cada 18 o 20 años. Aún más. En contadas ocasiones, cuando los planetas coinciden en su mayor oposición al Sol, también coincide su ascensión recta, por lo que pueden llegar a juntarse hasta tres veces en el intervalo de sólo meses. A este fenómeno se le denomina “triple conjunción”. Ocurrió en 1604, pero también en 1682, 1821, 1941 o 1981. Para la próxima habrá que esperar hasta el año 2238.

Dado que estas grandes conjunciones se mueven a lo largo del Zodíaco, existe un patrón conocido muy del gusto de los astrólogos, y que marca un ciclo ‘mágico’ de 800 años. Kepler, como astrónomo y astrólogo, lo sabía, y justo a finales del año 1603 daba comienzo uno de estos intrigantes ciclos. El anterior había coincidido con la aparición del todopoderoso emperador Carlomagno. Y dos ciclos atrás –1600 años– casi con la llegada de… Jesucristo. ¿Qué tipo de suceso podía acontecer ahora, con los astros rebelándose de esa manera? ¿Tal vez el fin del mundo?


'La adoración de los Magos’, cuadro pintado por Giotto alrededor del año 1301. La estrella de Belén aparece representada como un cometa


No ocurrió nada especial, ya que de lo contrario no estaríamos contándolo. Pero el siempre prudente Johannes Kepler descubrió algo sorprendente al año siguiente. Un monje polaco llamado Laurentius Suslyga hizo públicos varios errores en las dataciones del nacimiento de Jesús de Nazaret y, como consecuencia, en el origen de la Era Cristiana. Hasta entonces la Iglesia había dado por buenos los cálculos de Dionisio el Exiguo, un abad romano del siglo VI que había fijado el nacimiento divino el año 753 después de la fundación de Roma. Pero según el jesuita Suslyga, Cristo habría nacido cuatro años antes… del propio Cristo (en una divertida paradoja espacio-temporal)

Los errores son hoy bien conocidos, tanto por las dataciones romanas como por los textos evangélicos. El emperador Cesar Augusto reinó cuatro años con el título de Octavio y, además, se había empezado a contar en el año “1” (en la Europa medieval no existía el concepto árabe del cero). Herodes, rey de Judea al nacer Jesús, había fallecido también cuatro años antes de Cristo, y el censo ordenado por Roma –que obligó al accidentado viaje de María y José– tuvo lugar igualmente entre los años 8-6 a.C. Por tanto, hay un claro error en las fechas. Cuando Kepler tuvo conocimiento de algunos de estos datos, ató cabos. Había que restar cuatro o cinco años a la triple conjunción que él había calculado con la mayor de las precisiones. Los astros se habrían juntado en el cielo hasta tres veces durante el año de la Encarnación divina. ¿No habría esto llamado la atención de los tres Reyes Magos bíblicos? ¿No habría una conexión singular? (Y esto sin tener en cuenta que hubiera podido aparecer otra estrella nova como la que él había observado)

En la actualidad sabemos que la nova reportada en 1604 por Kepler es, realmente, la última supernova conocida en la Vía Láctea –la anterior, de 1572, la observó su maestro Tycho Brahe–. Sabemos de pocas más en nuestra galaxia (en el año 1006, en 1054 –la famosa Nebulosa del Cangrejo–, o en 1181) pero sólo podemos remontarnos hasta el año 185 d.C. para tener registros de la más antigua citada por astrónomos chinos. No parece entonces que la conjunción de Júpiter y Saturno del año “0” viniera acompañada de efectos especiales adicionales, e incluso se conoce que la separación relativa entre ambos planetas en esas fechas (aproximadamente de un grado, equivalente a dos discos lunares) no la hace demasiado espectacular. Algunas hipótesis apuntan a que, si realmente existió la estrella de Belén, puede que fuera una combinación de fenómenos astronómicos, como la propia conjunción mencionada, una ocultación de Júpiter tras la Luna, y una nova (sin la categoría de ‘super’) o mero cometa citados por antiguos astrónomos orientales (alrededor del año 5 a.C.)

Sea como fuera, la tradición cristiana de la aparición de la estrella de Belén está muy arraigada y puede tener, en efecto, una explicación completamente astronómica. Para los muy creyentes bastará con pensar en un milagro, y para los muy crédulos en la visita guiada de algún tipo de nave extraterrestre, que de todo hay en la viña del Señor. Además, ¿por qué poner en duda la veracidad de la estrella de Belén si creemos firmemente en la existencia de los Reyes Magos?

2016-01-05 18:47 | joven | 63 Comentarios | #

Referencias (TrackBacks)

URL de trackback de esta historia http://ejoven.blogalia.com//trackbacks/76065

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De: Enrique Fecha: 2016-01-05 19:30

Como añadido a esta historia, una entrevista en Bluradio.com de Colombia, a los que agradezco desde aquí su amabilidad. Añado el enlace a la grabación:

http://www.bluradio.com/#!119881/fue-real-la-estrella-de-belen-que-guio-los-reyes-magos



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De: Enrique Fecha: 2016-01-07 00:37

Igualmente, a los amigos de "RNE - 24 horas" por la entrevista sobre el mismo asunto de hoy 6 de enero.

(Igual aburro ya con esto, pero me alegro que haya gustado)



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