Thursday, March 10, 2016

Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 - Know It, Share It, See It

There are some special events in our lives we will prepare for months in advance, even years. I want to tell you of an event that you and your family will want to anticipate in order to participate. Planning will give you the most benefit of the experience.

Mark your calendars for Monday, August 21, 2017. On that date we who live in the United States will experience the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire United States since 1918. It will become one of the biggest news stories of 2017. Where I live in Enid, Oklahoma, the geographical center of the United States, the sun will become 87% obscured at 12:08 pm (Central Time). In other words, when you step out of your office for lunch, you'll experience a weird sensation that "something is not quite right." (*Note: The National Eclipse website sent me a comment with a correction, stating that at 87% obscurity the sun will give more far more light than a full moon at night). Some major cities in the United States like St. Louis, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina  will be in the path of "total eclipse" (100% sun obscurity). It will go dark for at least a couple of minutes during the day in those cities.

Mid-day darkness is a rare occurrence, but it is associated with many great historical events.

1. In 1302 B.C., the Chinese become one of the first to document an epic total eclipse at mid-day, an eclipse that blocked out the sun for six minutes and 25 seconds, causing the Chinese emperor to perform many religious rituals to appease the Sun. 

2. The world's first empire, Assyria, was one of the first to record a mid-day solar event, and on that day the people of the capital city of Ashur revolted against their king (763 B.C.)

3. The ancient Jews believed that eclipses signified God's plan to change governments, to remove from power wicked rulers, and to institute a new reign of good among men. 
"The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." (Joel 2:31). 
4. A total eclipse of the sun occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus.
"At noon, darkness came over the entire land" (Mark 15:33). 
5. In 1133 A.D. a total eclipse occurred when King Henry I of England, the son of William the Conqueror, died. A history of this event by William of Malmesbury recounts that "the hideous darkness" agitated the hearts of men.

6.  During 1919's epic solar eclipse, the sun vanished for six minutes and 51 seconds, allowing scientists to take photographs of the sun and notice the "bending of star light" as it approached the sun, confirming Einstein's theory of general relativity, which describes gravity as a warping of space-time.

Anticipating events like the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, while at the same time using a little of your creativity, will allow you to create a memorable experience for those you love. A lunar eclipse is different from a solar eclipse, but in an age when the night sky was the only illumination at night, having "a full moon disappear" at night was almost as frightening as the sun disappearing at mid-day. 

Christopher Columbus used his knowledge of an impending lunar eclipse and some personal creativity to save his own life. I close my encouragement regarding Monday, August 21, 2017 with's story of Christopher Columbus and the lunar eclipse of  February 29, 1504:

On Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus came ashore on an island northeast of Cuba, which he later named San Salvador (Holy Savior). Over the next 10 years Columbus would make three more voyages to the "New World." On his fourth and final voyage, while exploring the coast of Central America, Columbus found himself in dire straits.
He left Cádiz, Spain, on May 11, 1502, with the ships Capitana, Gallega, Vizcaína and Santiago de Palos.Unfortunately, thanks to an epidemic of shipworms eating holes in the planking of his fleet, Columbus was forced to abandon two of his ships and finally had to beach his last two caravels on the north coast of an island now known as Jamaica, on June 25, 1503
Initially, the native peoples (Arawak Indians) welcomed the castaways, providing them with food and shelter, but as the days dragged into weeks, tensions mounted. Finally, after being stranded for more than six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied, robbing and murdering some of the Arawaks, who themselves had grown weary of supplying cassava, corn and fish in exchange for little tin whistles, trinkets, hawk's bells and other trashy goods. With famine now threatening, Columbus formulated a desperate, albeit ingenious plan.

Almanac to the rescue
Coming to the admiral's rescue was Johannes Müller von Königsberg (1436-1476), known by his Latin pseudonym, Regiomontanus. He was a highly regarded German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. Before his death, Regiomontanus published an almanac containing astronomical tables covering the years 1475-1506.
Regiomontanus'almanac turned out to be of great value, for his astronomical tables provided detailed information about the sun, moon and planets, as well as the more important stars and constellations to navigate by. After it was published, no sailor dared set out without a copy. With its help, explorers were able to leave their customary routes and venture out into the unknown seas in search of new frontiers.
Columbus, of course had a copy of the almanac with him when he was stranded on Jamaica. And he soon discovered from studying its tables that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total lunar eclipse would occur, beginning around the time of moonrise.

Armed with this knowledge three days before the eclipse, Columbus requested a meeting with the Arawak chief and informed him that his Christian god was very angry with his people for no longer supplying him and his men with food. Therefore, he was about to provide a clear sign of his displeasure: Three nights hence, he would all but obliterate the rising full moon, making it appear "inflamed with wrath," which would signify the evils that would soon be inflicted upon all of them.
 Bad moon rising!
 On the appointed evening, as the sun set in the west and the moon started emerging from beyond the eastern horizon, it was plainly obvious to all that something was terribly wrong. By the time the moon appeared in full view, a small but noticeable dark scallop had been removed from its lower edge.
And, just over an hour later, as evening twilight ended and full darkness descended, the moon indeed exhibited an eerily inflamed and "bloody" appearance: In place of the normally brilliant late winter full moon there now hung a dim red ball in the eastern sky.

According to Columbus' son, Ferdinand, the Arawaks were terrified at this sight and "with great howling and lamentation came running from every direction to the ships laden with provisions and beseeching the admiral to intercede with his god on their behalf." They promised that they would happily cooperate with Columbus and his men if only he would restore the moon back to its normal self. The great explorer told the natives that he would have to retire to confer privately with his god. He then shut himself in his cabin for about 50 minutes.

While in his quarters, Columbus turned an hourglass every half hour to time the various stages of the eclipse based on the calculations provided by Regiomontanus' almanac.
Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the Arawaks that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. And at that moment, true to Columbus' word, the moon slowly began to reappear, and as it emerged from the Earth's shadow, the grateful Arawaks hurried away. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola arrived on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on Nov. 7.


Bob Cleveland said...

Which is why you don't want to mention Chris & the guys, or Columbus Day, when you're in Haiti. They do not hold him in high regard there.

I know. From personal experience.

Nancy said...

I live about 28 miles from Hopkinsville, KY. My daughter lives in Hopkinsville. That town is very near ground zero for the 2017 eclipse. The timing of the eclipse happens to coincide with the Kelly Little Green Men Days Festival in Kelly, KY - just a hop from Hopkinsville. Someone cue the eerie music, please?
Uhg! I dread to see what traffic will be like in the Hopkinsville-Fort Campbell area next August!

Unknown said...

In the United States Air Force the Navigator is fast being replaced by avionics and other computer devices. Long lost is the art of navigation that many of them were trained in up until the late 90's. This would include use of a sextant in flight. Fascinating that even int he day of GPS we were still training people for that. That has come to an end for all navigators EXCEPT for those at my unit, the 139th Airlift Squadron.

We have a unique mission whereby we fly ski-equipped C-130 aircraft to the far reaches of the ice cap in Greenland and to Antarctica. I have personally landed at the South Pole over 300 times in the 20+ years of doing this amazing mission. When we received three new aircraft we actually had to make sure they came with the ability to use a sextant as the device slips through the ceiling in the cockpit and the Navigator can look to stars at night or the sun in the day. One of the things promised to us was the extra redundancy in our systems assuring us of all the amazing capabilities we would ever need.

The polar plateau of the Antarctic continent is amazing. Once you leave McMurdo Station and fly past Beardmore Glacier and all the mountains of the Trans-Antarctic range you reach the edge of the plateau where the ice climbs up to meet you (at some points up to 2.5 to 3 miles thick) and where all directions look the same....Flat and white with no real distinctions or definitions. I was with my crew flying a mission to the South Pole one day and wouldn't you know it...all those promises fell flat. ALL my navigational aids failed, the computers locked up and we were on our own. We did not have handheld devices to use, we had a radio (UHF) and one ADF radio used to find non-directional beacons of which NONE are on the entire continent.

Here is where I tell you of the Creator...For all the effort of evolutionists to speak to how all of this came about by chance, I and my crew can speak to the precision of a Creator Who knew what He was doing when HE made it all. My navigator was one of our best and she used the sextant to look at the sun, then the moon (it happened to be in a place that was visible) used the books that have all the plot calculations told me to establish a heading and an hour and 15 minutes later we were able to pick up the South Pole station on Radar.

We landed, waited for another aircraft (even though we successfully reset the systems on the ground) and followed them back so there would be no chance to get lost.

Were it not for a knowledge of the sun and the moon...well, I don't know where we would have ended up. Were it not for the precision of the sun and moon as established by God we would have had the same problem and you can't just land as the crevasses and sustrugi on the surface could cause a fatal wreck

By the way...our unit is the sole remaining unit to teach this awesome CELL navigation, and our navigators are the only ones int he world that do it....praise be to God!

Wade Burleson said...

Cool story Dave! Thanks for sharing!

NationalEclipse said...

A correction: The last coast-to-coast eclipse that you refer to occurred in 1918, not 1919. Also, you imply that an 87% obscured Sun will turn day into night. In fact, you probably won't notice much, if any, darkening at 87%. The Sun, even when partially blocked by the Moon, is extremely bright! To fully experience all of the phenomena associated with a total solar eclipse, including darkness, you need to be in the very narrow path of totality. Your readers are invited to visit for more information on the 2017 eclipse.

Wade Burleson said...

Impressive, National Eclipse.

I stand corrected.

Doug Hibbard said...

Dave Panzera--

I grew up the son of a C-130 Navigator, and love hearing good Nav stories. I think it's a shame we think people can be replaced by machines in general, but especially in finding our way. There's a lot of application there.

Wade, thanks for the eclipse info. We may roadtrip that day to get nearer the path of totality!


Muff Potter said...

I doubt very seriously that it was a solar eclipse that caused the darkness on the day Messiah died. It is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur on Passover. Nor does the totality at a particular location along the apparent path of any solar eclipse last for as long as the time span spoken of in Scripture.
I believe it was a supernatural event. The rock of the Earth's crust cried out in horror and the fabric of reality as we know it began to unravel, light was the first to go... Their very Creator had been murdered.

Rex Ray said...

Muff Potter,

WELL SAID, and I believe Jesus told the main culprit; Caiaphas (high priest) would go to Hell in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

Rex Ray said...

Just because God used evil nations to punish his people those nations were not justified.

Neither was the high priest, Caiaphas, justified in having Jesus murdered.

Wade pointed out that Caiaphas was the “rich man” in the parable of the “rich man and Lazarus”.

A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. A dead man arguing in Hell is not an earthly story.

This is a heavenly story with an earthly meaning.

Just as Jesus used a whip, he prophesied the ‘payback’ for the high priest.

Rex Ray said...

I should have said that Jesus prophesied eternity for the high priest.

Christiane said...

"3. The ancient Jews believed that eclipses signified God's plan to change governments, to remove from power wicked rulers, and to institute a new reign of good among men"

wow, this is GREAT!