Thursday, June 26, 2008

Celestial Clues Support Story of Homer’s Odyssey

Homer wrote two classic works, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Odyssey was probably written towards the end of the eighth century, and follows the the Greek hero Odysseus (aka Ulysses) on his long journey home after the fall of Troy. The text states that there was a lunar eclipse upon the hero's return to his homeland. From a press release from the Laboratory of Mathematical Physics at Rockefeller and the Proyecto Observatorio at the Observatorio Astronómico in La Plata, Argentina.

The day of the slaughter is, as Homer writes more than once, also a new moon (something that's also a prerequisite for a total eclipse). Six days before the slaughter, Venus is visible and high in the sky. Twenty-nine days before, two constellations -- the Pleiades and Boötes -- are simultaneously visible at sunset. And 33 days before, Homer may be suggesting that Mercury is high at dawn and near the western end of its trajectory.

Now Magnasco and Baikouzis are assuming that the reference to Mercury is in fact a reference to the planet, and not the mythical god, who also went by the Greek name Hermes, which was who Homer would have written about. What they found was, when they limited their search to within a hundred years of the fall of Troy, there was only one point in time where all four celestial events lined up as described in the Odyseey: April 16, 1178 BC.

Viva la Astronomie! Viva la Astrologie! Viva la Odyssey!

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