Flintstone Stargazing

June 23, 2008

I love astronomy

Filed under: astronomy, eclipse — Tags: , , — Ed @ 9:22 pm

Well, the sky really isn’t clear enough for good viewing tonight, so I’m headed to bed, but before I head that way, I came across this article on MSNBC, which I was amazed by.  One of the neat things about astronomy, is that you can generally run time forward and backward with a tremendous amount of accuracy (using software) to see what the sky looks like at a particular time and place. A couple of researchers at Rockefeller University in New York used software to date the return of Odysseus from the Trojan war to around noon on April 16, 1178 B.C.. This is not only because of the widely suspected reference to an eclispe which occurred in the Ionian islands at that time, but because there are a bunch of other astronomical clues as well, involving the Pleiades, Bootes, Ursa Major, Mercury, Venus and even more. While people had speculated that Homer was referring to an eclipse (and some science geeks in the early 1900’s thought it might be that eclipse that they were referring to), these folks ignored the eclipse clues and just used the other clues that they had. According to the article, “The scientists then searched for potential dates that satisfied all these astronomical references close to the fall of Troy, which has over the centuries been estimated to have occurred between roughly 1250 to 1115 B.C.” Read the article to find out their amazing results.


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