Wormwood, the Star
In Re 8:11, the name is figurative, given to a great star which, at the sounding of the third angel's trumpet, fell from heaven upon the third part of the rivers and on the fountains of the waters, turning them to a bitterness of which many died. Wormwood is used of bitter calamities (of La 3:15), and may here indicate some judgment, inflicted under a noted leader, affecting chiefly the internal sources of a country's prosperity. Older expositors, applying the earlier trumpets to the downfall of the Roman empire, saw in the star a symbol of the barbarian invasions of Attila or Genseric.
See also ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 8.