Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Biblical-Astronomical Archeology

בראשית י"ט, GENESIS 19: The Destruction of Sodom and Amorah

24 Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 and He overthrow those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace.

From the Times-Online: "A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness’s account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.

The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal place at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700BC copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.

He referred to the asteroid as “white stone bowl approaching” and recorded it as it “vigorously swept along”.

Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123BC.

About half the symbols on the tablet have survived and half of those refer to the asteroid. The other symbols record the positions of clouds and constellations. In the past 150 years scientists have made five unsuccessful attempts to translate the tablet.

Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet’s code, said: “It’s a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science.”

He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at Köfels. As it travelled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.

Debris consisting of up to two thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400C (752F) would have been created, killing anyone in its path. About one million sq km (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tonnes of TNT exploding."


According to Chabad's on-line calendar of Biblical events, they date the destruction of Sodom to 1714 BCE, so I guess the scientists still have to tweak their computer program of the night skies a bit more.

:-)


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

6 comments:

JoeSettler said...

It is hardly clear that this asteroid has any connection to the S&G event, other than to put a spin on the story.

mevaseretzion said...

That bugged me when i read the article too.

Anonymous said...

From today's Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/01/4

Lurker said...

From the Times-Online:
...
"The tablet... is thought to be a 700 BC copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky."

...
According to Chabad's on-line calendar of Biblical events, they date the destruction of Sodom to 1714 BCE, so I guess the scientists still have to tweak their computer program of the night skies a bit more.

Ah, but the numbers actually do work out. Take a look at the article on this in the Guardian:

"...new astronomic analysis of an ancient cuneiform clay tablet concluded a giant meteor had crashed into the Alps in 3123 BC, creating a scorching scythe through the air that stretched all the way to the Levant."

Now, if you calculate the average of the figure given by the Times and the one given by the Guardian, you get 1912 BCE -- which is very close indeed to the figure given by the Chabad calendar.

Q.E.D.

Anonymous said...

"Now, if you calculate the average of the figure given by the Times and the one given by the Guardian, you get 1912 BCE -- which is very close indeed to the figure given by the Chabad calendar."

That's like saying on average, everyone has one breast and one testicle.

Lurker said...

Anonymous: That's like saying on average, everyone has one breast and one testicle.

C'mon, you can't deny that the numbers work out perfectly. That's what's important.

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