Astronomers have been fascinated by the idea of the Star of Bethlehem for centuries. Did it exist? And if so, what was it? The list of candidates includes some of the most exciting objects in the night sky - supernovae, comets, meteors and unusual alignments of the giant planets. In this surprising and entertaining Christmas special the Sky at Night team go in search of the potential causes of the Star of Bethlehem. The team explore the possibilities, investigating the nature of the phenomena and digging through the historical records including Babylonian clay tablets and ancient Chinese manuscripts, to reconstruct events in the night sky 2,000 years ago. Maggie Aderin-Pocock goes hunting for supernovae using the most powerful laser in Britain, and discovers that these mighty explosions caused by the death of stars can shine brighter than the moon in our sky. Chris Lintott reconstructs the night sky over Jerusalem at the time of Jesus's birth, discovering a once-in-a-millennium conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter that was first suggested as a cause of the star by the great astronomer Johannes Kepler in 1604.
Libby Meredith and her husband Roger, a college professor, have a quiet, comfortable marriage. They journey to the Great Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee, where Roger will spend his sabbatical year writing a book. Their neighbor, an unhappily married mountain man falls in love with Libby at first sight. Although plagued by guilt, Libby cannot deny the sudden, overwhelming passion and exuberance she feels as a result of the mountain man's confession of love. Their brief, idyllic infatuation is interrupted by sudden violence.