A complete photo voltaic eclipse seen on Aug. 21, 2017, from Wyoming.
Credit score: Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock
The Outdated Testomony Ebook of Joshua might include the oldest identified reference to a photo voltaic eclipse recorded by humanity. And it occurred 810 years in the past at the moment (Oct. 30).
If that’s the case, this poetic reference companies up the dates of the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Nice (additionally referred to as Ramesses II), based on a brand new paper revealed within the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.
The textual content in query is within the 12th and 13th verses of the 10th chapter of the Ebook of Joshua. In line with the King James model of the Bible, these verses learn, “Then spake Joshua to the Lord within the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites earlier than the kids of Israel, and he mentioned within the sight of Israel, Solar, stand thou nonetheless upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, within the valley of Ajalon. And the solar stood nonetheless, and the moon stayed, till the folks had avenged themselves upon their enemies. … So, the solar stood nonetheless within the midst of heaven, and hasted to not go down about a complete day.” [See Photos of the Mummy of Another Egyptian Pharaoh – Ramesses III]
The pbadage is a part of the story of Joshua main the Israelites into Canaan (at the moment’s Israel and Palestine) and beating again their enemies (the Amorites) after the Amorite armies laid siege to the Israelite camp. Astronomically talking, the textual content might discuss with a photo voltaic eclipse (when the moon blocks the solar’s gentle from reaching parts of the Earth), mentioned Sir Colin Humphreys, a supplies science professor on the College of Cambridge in England.
The King James translation of the Bible refers back to the solar and moon standing nonetheless, Humphreys mentioned, however the authentic Hebrew makes use of a root phrase that, in Babylonian, a badociated tongue, also can describe eclipses. What Joshua might have prayed, in different phrases, was not that the moon and solar would freeze within the sky, however that they might cease their ordinary shining.
Earlier researchers have tried to validate this eclipse speculation by linking the Ebook of Joshua to an impartial indicator of when the Israelites had been in Canaan: a stele from the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah, son of Ramesses the Nice. The Merneptah stele, carved within the fifth 12 months of Merneptah’s reign, mentions that the pharaoh ordered a (profitable) marketing campaign towards the folks of Israel in Canaan. Courting the stele places the Israelites in Canaan between 1500 B.C. and 1050 B.C.
However till now, scientists have not had a lot luck cross-referencing the 2 dates. Astronomical calculations turned up no complete photo voltaic eclipses that matched. Humphreys and his colleagues expanded the search to incorporate not solely complete eclipses, but in addition annular eclipses. In these celestial occasions, the moon slips between the Earth and the solar however not at a distance at which it seems to cowl the solar’s face completely. The result’s a powerful show that appears like a hoop of fireplace within the sky, however with out the sudden twilight darkness of a complete photo voltaic eclipse.
Humphreys and his colleagues use astronomical calculations to find out that the one annular eclipse seen from Canaan between 1500 B.C. and 1050 B.C. was on the afternoon of Oct. 30, 1207 B.C. The small print within the stele additional recommend, then, that Merneptah’s reign started in 1210 B.C. or 1209 B.C., the researchers reported at the moment. That pegs Ramesses the Nice’s reign from 1276 B.C. to about 1210 B.C. Earlier estimates put his demise at round 1213 B.C. Ramesses is known for his army campaigns in Canaan and Nubia and for forsaking magnificent statues of himself in temples and monuments.
“The exact dates of the pharaohs have been topic to some uncertainty amongst Egyptologists,” Humphreys mentioned in a press release, “however this new calculation, if accepted, might result in an adjustment within the dates of a number of of their reigns and allow us so far them exactly.”
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