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In the shadow of the Moon
New Scientist ^ | 30 January 1999 | editors

Posted on 08/31/2004 8:42:25 AM PDT by SunkenCiv

At 8.45 on the morning of 15 April 136 BC, Babylon was plunged into darkness when the Moon passed in front of the Sun. An astrologer, who recorded the details in cuneiform characters on a clay tablet, wrote: "At 24 degrees after sunrise-a solar eclipse. When it began on the southwest side, Venus, Mercury and the normal stars were visible. Jupiter and Mars, which were in their period of disappearance, became visible. The Sun threw off the shadow from southwest to northeast." If present-day astronomers use a computer to run the movements of the Earth, Moon and Sun backwards from their present positions, like a movie in reverse, they find something very odd. The total eclipse of 15 April 136 BC should not have been visible from Babylon at all. The zone of totality should have passed over the Spanish island of Mallorca, 48.8 degrees west of Babylon-a difference of more than one-eighth of a complete rotation of the Earth, or 3.25 hours. The only explanation is that the planet's rotation has slowed since 136 BC, making the day longer. Of course, there are many other records of the ancients observing cosmic events, from supernovas to comets, but the value of these sightings to modern science is limited. Reports of eclipses, however, are in a class of their own. If the Earth has accumulated a change in orientation equivalent to an eighth of a turn in just over 2000 years, then we can infer that the day has lengthened by an average of a few milliseconds a century. This is an extraordinarily precise figure to deduce from historical records. In fact, it is without precedent.

(Excerpt) Read more at web.archive.org ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Reference; Religion; Science; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: archaeoastronomy; archaeology; asteroid; astronomy; babylon; babylong; catastrophism; cruithne; cuneiform; davidrohl; earth; eclipse; epigraphyandlanguage; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; jupiter; lunarcapture; lunarorigin; mallorca; mars; mercury; moon; rohl; solareclipse; sothic; sothis; space; spain; themoon; toutatis; venus
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Historical Eclipses and Earths Rotation Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation
F. Richard Stephenson


1 posted on 08/31/2004 8:42:27 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 4ConservativeJustices; A.J.Armitage; ...
I've posted links/quotes about this before, but not in its own topic. Archaeoastronomy fall down go boom.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

2 posted on 08/31/2004 8:43:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: SunkenCiv

What computer can do for you.:)


3 posted on 08/31/2004 8:49:57 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: SunkenCiv
The only explanation is that the planet's rotation has slowed since 136 BC, making the day longer.

So, is this why it seems like the days are really long when I'm at work?

4 posted on 08/31/2004 8:50:36 AM PDT by Wissa
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To: SunkenCiv

Fascinating.


5 posted on 08/31/2004 8:54:35 AM PDT by happygrl
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To: SunkenCiv

The moon is receeding from the earth very slowly, too. Is it not? This would screw-up the calculations involving the lunar month, would it not?


6 posted on 08/31/2004 8:56:51 AM PDT by Tallguy (If Clinton did a good job stopping the Millenium Bomber, I've got 2 Towers in NYC to sell you...)
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To: SunkenCiv
Without precedence and perhaps without validity.
7 posted on 08/31/2004 9:19:58 AM PDT by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: SunkenCiv
This is most excellent news!

Since the Earth's rotation has slowed, then the centrifical force counteracting gravity has decreased and that explains these extra twenty pounds!!

And for a while there I thought I had really gained weight. Whew! Glad that's settled.

(Pass the ice cream please)

8 posted on 08/31/2004 9:22:18 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: SunkenCiv

Is it possible that the clay tablet was inscribed on Mallorca and then transported to Babylon where it was found?


9 posted on 08/31/2004 9:24:30 AM PDT by tje
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To: SunkenCiv
The only explanation is that the planet's rotation has slowed since 136 BC, making the day longer.

Or that at least one of the orbits involved has changed slightly since then.

10 posted on 08/31/2004 9:44:44 AM PDT by judywillow
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To: judywillow
"The only explanation is that the planet's rotation has slowed since 136 BC"

It's not the only explanation. Another likely explanation is that they are using the same computer that predicts global warming.

11 posted on 08/31/2004 9:47:01 AM PDT by CJ Wolf
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To: SunkenCiv
The only explanation is that the planet's rotation has slowed since 136 BC, making the day longer.

As usual, the "only explanation" is not likely. As in post no.9, it's more likely that the eclipse was observed in its true path and the account written, with some poetic license, in Babylon. For the Earth to "speed up" its rotational velocity that much in only 2140 years, other unusual phenomena would have occurred as well.

The other explanation is that the observer was a moron.

12 posted on 08/31/2004 10:03:54 AM PDT by elbucko (A Feral Republican)
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To: SunkenCiv

Nothing is constant in the Universe.

Stars are born and they die and rotations of orbiting bodies obey the laws of gravity.


13 posted on 08/31/2004 11:23:52 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: Wissa
So, is this why it seems like the days are really long when I'm at work?
I think you're onto something. ;")

14 posted on 08/31/2004 12:18:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: Tallguy
Currently, the moon is receding (escaping, after a fashion) from the Earth at the rate of 4 cm a year, or maybe it's 4 meters. Can't remember. A body in prograde rotation (stable orbit) around the parent body will recede, due to tidal forces I think it is. A body in retrograde rotation around the parent body will spiral slowly down, then go boom. :')
15 posted on 08/31/2004 12:21:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: John O
the centrifical force counteracting gravity has decreased and that explains these extra twenty pounds!!
I grok that. :'D

16 posted on 08/31/2004 12:22:15 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: tje
Is it possible that the clay tablet was inscribed on Mallorca and then transported to Babylon where it was found?
No. Next! :') The Babylonians, for all their abilities, never had colonies in the Mediterranean.

17 posted on 08/31/2004 12:23:58 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: Tallguy
The moon is receeding from the earth

Yes. It is in fact already escaped from the earth and is influenced more strongly by the sun's gravity than earth's gravity. Eventually it will cease even the appearance of circling earth and will assume a position in earth's solar orbit either 60 degrees lagging or 60 degrees ahead, but there will be an intermediate orbit that carries it far away and brings it back in a horseshoe shaped orbit until that happens.

18 posted on 08/31/2004 12:24:41 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: elbucko
Uh, no.
19 posted on 08/31/2004 12:26:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: RightWhale
Probably a dead link.
More Moons Around Earth? It’s Not So Loony
by Robin Lloyd
October 29 1999 -- Earth has a second moon, of sorts, and could have many others. Cruithne, the 3-mile-wide (5-km) satellite, takes 770 years to complete a horseshoe-shaped orbit around Earth, and will remain in a suspended state around Earth for at least 5,000 years. Every 385 years, it comes to its closest point to Earth, some 9.3 million miles (15 million kilometers) away. Its next close approach to Earth comes in 2285. "We found new dynamical channels through which free asteroids become temporarily moons of Earth and stay there from a few thousand years to several tens of thousands of years," said Fathi Namouni, one of the researchers, now at Princeton University. Namouni’s colleague Apostolos Christou said, "At specific points in its orbit, it reverses its rate of motion with respect to Earth so it will appear to go back and forth." In his view, there are three classes of moons – large moons in near-circular orbits around a planet, having formed soon after the planet; smaller fragments that are the products of collisions; and outer, irregular moons in odd orbits, or captured asteroids like Cruithne. In the past year, astronomers have reported finding such objects around Uranus.

20 posted on 08/31/2004 12:30:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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