Researchers: Jesus was Born in June

Christmas in Australia takes place each year at the height of summer.

But if it was celebrated on the day that some researchers allege Jesus Christ of Nazareth was actually born, Christmas would be white for those down under and hot for those elsewhere.

"December is an arbitrary date we have accepted but it doesn't really mean that is when it happened," Australian astronomer Dave Reneke told media this week after his team of researchers used a computer program to pinpoint the date of Jesus' birth.

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According to the researchers, Jesus was born on June 17, 2 B.C. – the day that Venus and Jupiter became so close that they would have appeared to be one bright beacon of light.

"We are not saying this was definitely the Christmas star – but it is the strongest explanation for it of any I have seen so far," Reneke told the London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Previous theories have suggested that the star may have been a supernova, a comet, or the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C. Reneke, however, says the technology that his team utilized has provided the most compelling explanation yet.

"There's no other explanation that so closely matches the facts we have from the time," said the former chief lecturer at the Port Macquarie Observatory in New South Wales.

Reneke was quick to point out, however, that his team's claim is "not an attempt to decry religion."

"It's really backing it up as it shows there really was a bright object appearing in the East at the right time," he told the Telegraph.

"Often when we mix science with religion in this kind of forum, it can upset people. In this case, I think this could serve to reinforce people's faith," he added.

Currently, Reneke is the news editor of Sky and Space magazine and teaches astronomy at the college level. "Astro Dave," as some have labeled him, is also a frequent guest on ABC Local, the local gateway of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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