Scientists have never really solved the mystery of just what the Gospel of St. Matthew meant when it described a "star in the east" that led the wise men to Bethlehem. A comet or a flaring supernova in 5 B.C. were early suggestions. Computers in 1968 revealed a tight conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, in the west, on June 17 in 2 B.C. Jupiter and Saturn did the same - three times - in 7 B.C. Others say the "star" was a literary device, meant to impress early converts.