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Open letter to science editors



The Sun of Night

Copyright © 1977 by Dwardu Cardona, Lewis M. Greenberg, and Warner B. Sizemore.

1.   Planets or Stars?

As these words are being written, the U. S. space-probe Pioneer II is even now on its way to a rendezvous with Saturn which, barring any unforeseeable accidents, is due to occur in September of 1979, two years hence.  The data that will be collected and relayed to Earth by this probe will therefore be crucial to the astronomical content of this article.  But already there are indications that we, as well as Velikovsky, are on the right track.  Writing in the 1976 Yearbook of Science and the Future, Henry T. Simmons states:

"Like those of Jupiter, the cloud tops of Saturn occur in alternating light and dark bands, and it also appears that the planet emits more heat than it receives from the Sun.   Scientists recently found that Saturn generates bursts in the one-megahertz frequency range.  This suggests that it has an internal magnetic field as well as radiation belts of trapped electrons like Jupiter (emphasis added)."(1)

Data from Pioneers 10 and 11 has now disclosed that Jupiter is a fast rotating mass of liquid and "solid" hydrogen.  Its weather is convective, driven by what scientists are now beginning to call its “primordial internal heat.”(2)  Astronomers are also beginning to talk about Jupiter's "starlike properties" and its similarities to a “mini-solar system" with its accompanying retinue of satellites.(3) Dr. D. McNally, of the University of London Observatory, has also suggested the idea that Jupiter may be more like a star than a planet (4) and did not Velikovsky himself call Jupiter and Saturn dark stars, (5) even predicting that the former's core would be found to have a very high temperature?(6)

John A. Simpson, professor of physics at the University of Chicago, now describes Jupiter as "nature's best gift of what a poor man's star [or sun] is like."(7)  Like Saturn, Jupiter radiates "more than twice as much heat as it receives from the Sun."(8)  According to McNally, it is not just Jupiter but all of the Jovian planets that can be classified as "failed stars."(9) "If they [the Jovian planets] can be classified in this way," says Eric Crew, "this means that any deductions about Jupiter are likely to apply to the other gaseous type planets, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune."(10)

In a recent issue of Science Digest.  Arielle Emmet echoed the same views:

"Recent observations of the giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, lend credence to earlier speculation that both were actually proto-stars ...

"Composition of the two giants, astronomers found, is also more starlike than planet-like, consisting mainly of hydrogen and helium.  Both planets have satellite systems which are like miniature solar systems . . ."(11)

"But Jupiter is definitely not a star," states Simmons and adds that, although the planet's core may reach as much as 30,000°C, its temperature is "hundreds of times too low to ignite the thermonuclear reactions that heat the stars."(12)  These giant planets, Emmet continues to echo him, "could not heat up enough to begin deuterium burning "(13)

Or is it that these two "planets" did once so burn as relatively miniature suns and that, through evolutionary or catastrophic processes, their glorious radiation became permanently dimmed? – For how else can we account for the very strange fact that, out of the many denizens of the sky, the ancients picked on precisely these two "planets" and obstinately insisted in alluding to them both as suns?

Of Jupiter, whom the Israelites called the Sun of Righteousness, (14) we shall not write here.  For the present, we wish to restrict our attention to Saturn which Velikovsky also insisted once to have been a sun.(15)

2.  The Sun of Night

Today, no mythologist will contest the fact that Kronos was the Greek name of the planet Saturn.  Yet Macrobius, in the fourth Christian century, identified Kronos as the Sun.(16) Granted that by that time, as Velikovsky pointed out, there began "a tendency to see in many gods of Egyptian and Greek antiquity the personification of the sun"(17) –can we honestly say that Macrobius was that much in error?  Earlier, Diodorus Siculus, in discussing the names that the Chaldeans gave to the planets, also stated that "the one called Cronos by the Greeks ... they [the Chaldeans] call the star of Helius."(18)  Helius (or Helios), as almost everybody knows, is the name by which the Greeks called the Sun.  Strictly speaking, this was not exactly an error on the part of Diodorus for, to the Chaldeans and Assyro Babylonians, as we shall see, Shamash was a name which they bestowed on both the Sun and the planet Saturn.

This confusion of Saturn with the Sun did not originate due to the ignorance of the ancient astronomers.  It was due to those later ones who were born too late to see that Saturn was once indeed a sun.  As such was this "planet" viewed by the very ancients, as such was it remembered by their descendants, and as such must we think of it if we wish to understand the message that our ancient forebears attempted to relay to us.

Diodorus Siculus was not the only writer of antiquity who stated that the Babylonians called Saturn the "sun star."(19)  Hyginus also expressed his opinion that Saturn was called "the star of the sun.(20)  Among modern Assyriologists, it seems as if Thompson was one of the first to notice that the Babylonians designated the planet Saturn as Shamash.(21)  Yet Shamash, as a cursory glance through any work on Assyro-Babylonian mythology will show, was, very much like the Egyptian Ra, the usual Babylonian name for the Sun.  In fact, variants of the word "shamash" still mean "sun" in many modem Semitic languages.(22)  Among the Aramaeans the word is rendered semes (shemesh) or simsa (shimsha).(23)  In pre-Islamic times, the Arabian word was Samsu (or Shamshu).(24)  Even in Maltese, the native tongue of the present writer, the Sun is called "xemx" - the "x" being phonetically equivalent to "sh" (i.e., shemsh).

This truth, that the Babylonians called Saturn by the name of the Sun, is not hidden behind a veil of mystery; it is, on the contrary, laid bare for the inspection of any scholar.  The Babylonians said it themselves in as many words:

"(Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us Mul (il) Samas su-u –the planet Saturn is Shamash.”(25)

This is the same as saying that the "planet" Saturn was a sun – there is no other way in which these words could be interpreted.

Undeniable evidence also points to the conception of a night-sun existing in ancient Babylonian astrological thought in conjunction with a day-sun.  The latter was viewed as the greater while the former was viewed as the lesser of the "two chief lights of the heaven, one to serve during the day and the other at night.”(26)  This is indicated by the fact that the Sun was called "Samse [or Shamshe] u-mi," which means "Shamash of the day.”(27)  Saturn must then have been the sun of night, a contention that was also upheld by no less an authority than Morris Jastrow Jr. who expressed the idea in these words:

"Strange as it may seem to us, the planet Saturn appears to have been regarded as 'the sun of night' corresponding to Samas as 'the sun of the daytime' and the cause of such light as the night furnishes."(28)

Jastrow's explanation of this phenomenon, however, is a very lame one:

"It was argued, that since there was a sun furnishing the light of day, so there must be some corresponding power which causes the illuminations of the heavens at night.  Saturn was chosen –in preference even to the moon because of the slowness of its movement, which made it visible continuously for a long period . . . ,(29)

Jastrow continues by telling us that the light of the Moon, as well as of the planets and the stars, was, by the Babylonians, ascribed to Saturn. (30) But would the Babylonians, who could calculate the complex motions of the heavenly bodies with mathematical accuracy, have been so naive as to invent a concept in which even the most ignorant of their peasantry could hardly have believed?  Should we not rather believe the words of Diodorus when he states that the reason the Chaldeans called Saturn by the name of the Sun was because it was the most "Prominent" of the five planets or the stars?(31)

In fact, not only do we agree with Diodorus that Saturn at one time was the most prominent of the planets, we also believe that, even though it shone less brightly than the Sun –although more so than the Moon of later times(32) –Saturn appeared larger in the night sky than the Sun did during the day.  A colleague of Jastrow, Professor J. A. Montgomery, has even raised "the interesting question whether in Genesis 1: 16 the two 'lights' may not at one time have referred to the Sun and Saturn ?”(33 )  This is an interesting supposition for, in the Biblical passage referred to, which supposedly describes the creation of Sun and Moon, neither Sun nor Moon is mentioned.  The passage merely reads:

"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also (emphasis added)."(34)

Ninip (Ninib), or Nirig, was another Babylonian name for the “planet" Saturn.(35)  Under this name, the "planet" was deified as "the ghost of the elder god" and "the black Saturn, the ghost of the dead sun, the demoniac elder god" (emphasis added).(36)

We should leave it to a later article to see what exactly was meant by these appellations but, after what we have already divulged, it should not take much to deduce the truth.  Saturn was the "elder god" because he was the first god that man ever bowed his head to.  In fact, Saturn was the most ancient of the ancient deities.

Today, Saturn is definitely not the radiant sun it used to be.  In time, it removed itself from the vicinity of the Earth, or vice versa.  Time has also dimmed its lustre and, although there is much more to Saturn's tale, the above simple statements explain it all.  Because of that, Saturn was later called the "ghost of the elder god" –"the ghost of the dead sun."  Obviously, our present Sun is not dead.

3.  The Nocturnal Sun of Egypt

As every mythologist knows, Ra, the Egyptian god generally believed to personify the Sun, was burdened by many another name.  One of these was Temu (or Atum), a divine alias which bore a specific and, from an orthodox point of view, strange characteristic. Temu was a sun of night.(37)

Students of Egyptian mythology, E. A. Wallis Budge among them, have long grappled with the exact meaning that lies hidden beneath this strange characteristic of Temu-Ra (or Ra-Temu).  The best that Budge himself could offer was that Temu was the Sun after it had Set.(38)  By this he meant to imply that the Egyptians worshipped the Sun even when it was absent from the sky.  Sun worship at night, however, makes for an incongruous institution.  This fallacious interpretation should never have been derived, and it would not have, had the Egyptologists thought of comparing their texts more diligently with those in the hands of the Assyriologists.  Temu-Ra was the same as Shamash-Saturn.  It seems, therefore, that Professor William Mullen was right when he identified Atum, the same as Temu, as the planet Saturn.(39)

Mullen's equation of Atum with Osiris,(40) and Velikovsky's identification of Osiris as the planet Saturn,(41) also seems to be correct as, in Egypt, this sun of night was also anthropomorphosed as the god Osiris.  M. Mariette-Bey tells us that:

"Originally, Osiris is the nocturnal sun; he is the primordial night of chaos; he is consequently anterior to Ra, the Sun of Day."(42)

            But, as we have seen, Ra, as Temu, was also the sun of night, so that Osiris could not have been anterior to him.

Mariette-Bey's contention is also shared by E. A. Wallis Budge who informs us:

"The Egyptian texts suggest that in late times the Sun-god of night may have been regarded as a form of Osiris.”(43)

We do not, however, agree with Budge that Osiris' connection with the night sun evolved in "late times" for we definitely come across such allusions as early as the Vth Dynasty in the Pyramid Texts of Unas and others.

In his other name of Neb-er-tcher –and Osiris was known under many names(44) –the god was known as the "god of the universe.”(45)  This is the same title bestowed on the Vedic and Hindu Creator, Brahma, whom Velikovsky has also identified as Saturn.(46)  Brahma, too, was honored as the "Lord of the Universe.”(47)  In Babylonian mythology, Saturn was also called En-Me Sar-ra (or Shar-ra), which means "Lord [or king] of the law of the universe.”(48)  This title strengthens the identity of these deities as the planet Saturn.  It is also evidence that Saturn was, above the Sun, the Moon, and the other planets, honored as the sole ruler of Creation.  We may conclude that this was an apt title for the "planet" Saturn which ancient man distinctly remembered as a glorious sun which shone at night.

NOTE:  The author wishes to acknowledge the fact that David Talbott, past publisher of Pensee, who also has, for the past five years, been working on the same subject, had previously circulated a paper among trusted colleagues and that this paper contained some of the tenets presented in the present article.


1.    Henry T. Simmons, "Visit to a Large Planet: The Pioneer Missions to Jupiter," in the 1976 Yearbook of Science and the Future, Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., University of Chicago, p. 43.

2.    R. Smoluchowski, "Jupiter 1975," in the American Scientist, Vol. 63, p. 642; J. H. Wolfe, "Jupiter," in the September 1975 issue of Scientific American, pp. 121-122.

3.    Henry T. Simmons, op. cit., p. 28; see also the January 17, 1976 issue of Science News, Vol. 109, p. 4 2.

4.    D. McNally, "Are the Jovian Planets 'Failed' Stars?" in Nature, 244, August 1973, pp. 424-426.

5.    Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Doubleday, New York, 1950, p, 373.

6.    "A Record of Success," in the May 1972 issue of Pensee, p. 23; see also Immanuel Velikovsky, "The Birth of Venus from Jupiter," in KRONOS, Vol. 11, No. 1, (August, 1976), p. 6; Idem., "A Rejoinder to Motz," in the April 1967 issue of the Yale Scientific Magazine, Vol.  XLI, No. 7, p. 15.

7.    Henry T. Simmons, op. cit., p. 28.

8.    Ibid.

9.    D. McNally, op. cit.; See also the September 8, 1973 issue of Science News, Vol. 104, pp. 149-150.

10.  Eric Crew, Commenting on Ragnar Forshufvud's "The Jupiter Puzzle", in the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies Review, Vol.  I, No. 2, p. 24.

11.  Arielle Emmet, "Living Planets and Proto-Stars" ("Space Oddities 1976"), in the "Short Takes" section of Science Digest, April 1976, pp. 14-15; see also Science News, Vol. 109, loc. cit.

12.  Henry T. Simmons, op. cit., p. 28.

13.  Arielle Emmet, op. cit., p. 14.

14.  Mentioned in the Book of Malachi, 4:2; also referred to in The Gospel according to St.  Matthew, 13:43. (NOTE: In Hebrew both the word "righteousness" and the name of the "planet" Jupiter are derived from the same root - "zedek.")

15.  Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, (see note # 5), p. 3 73; Idem., verbally, in Velikovsky:     The Bonds of the Past, a CBC documentary by Henry Zemel; Idem., "The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating," in the Spring-Summer, 1973, issue of Pensee, p. 13. (NOTE: In the last two mentioned sources, Velikovsky describes Saturn as having flared up as a short-lived stellar nova which automatically implies the "planet" to have been a stellar object.)

16.  Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1, 22, 8.

17.  Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, (see note *S), p. 301.

18.  Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, II, 30, 3, (as translated by C. H. Oldfather, Loeb Classical Library).

19Ibid.,II, 30, 3-4.

20.  Gaius Iulius Hyginus, De Astironomia (also known as Poetica Astronomica), 11, 42, 6-10.

21.  Thompson, Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon, II, p. xxv ff., as cited by Morris Jastrow Jr., "Sun and Saturn", in the Revue D'Assyriologie et D'Archeologie Orientale, Paris, September, 1910, p. 163.

22.  "Shamash," in the 1959 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 20, p. 454.



25.  Morris Jastrow Jr., "Sun and Saturn," (see note * 2 1), p. 163. (NOTE: On the name "(Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-us" for Saturn, see Morris Jastrow Jr., "Sign and Name for Planet in Babylonian," in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol 47, p. 155 ff.)

26Ibid., pp. 171-172; see also Lewis M. Greenberg and Warner B. Sizemore, "Saturn and Genesis," in KRONOS, Vol. 1, No. 3, (November, 1975), p. 46.

27.  Morris Jastrow Jr., op cit, p. 164.

28Ibid., pp. 169-170.

29Ibid., p. 170.


31.  Diodorus Siculus, op. cit.

32.  It is here assumed that, although the Moon, like Venus, was a late arrival in man's skies, our lunar satellite had already been captured during the time when Saturn shone as a sun of night.  Actually, although in this the present author may differ from Velikovsky, as well as from other writers working on the same subject, the shining of Saturn as a sun of night was anterior to the Noachian Deluge which was caused by the flare-up of the Saturnian sun.  Meanwhile, ancient traditions, as Velikovsky has already indicated, seem to imply that the Moon was deluged together with the Earth - so that the Moon must have already been close to the Earth during that occurrence.  Also, ancient traditions from various parts of the world seem to indicate that the Moon once shone with a brighter light than it does at present.  On this subject, the author will be writing at a future date.

33.  J. A. Montgomery, as cited by Morris Jastrow Jr., in op. cit, p. 172, note 2; see also Lewis M. Greenberg and Warner B. Sizemore, loc. cit.

34.  The Book of Genesis, 1:16.

35.  Morris Jastrow Jr., op. cit., p. 172.

36.  Donald A. Mackenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria, Gresham, London, p. 314.

37.  E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, Dover, New York, 1911-1973, Vol. 1, pp. 65, 104.

38Idem., The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Dover, New York, 1895-1967, p. 246, note 2, where Temu, here called Tmu, is described as "the night sun, at the twelfth hour of the night." Elsewhere in the same work, Temu is called Turn and/or Atemu (see p. ex) which is the same as Atum, a form of the god more popularly used in modern works of Egyptian mythology.

39.  William Mullen, "A Reading of the Pyramid Texts," in the Winter, 1973, issue of Pensee, pp. 14 ff.


41Ibid., p. 13; Immanuel Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 174.

42.  Auguste Ferdinand Francois Mariette-Bey, Catalogue du Musee de Boulaq, 1864-1876, pp. 20-21, but see also pp. 100-101.

43.  E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, (see note #37), Vol 1, p. 21.

44Idem., The Gods of the Egyptians, Dover, New York, 1904-1969, Vol. 2, pp. 176 ff.

45Idem., The Egyptian Book of the Dead, (see note *38), p. cxxii.

46.  William Mullen, op. cit., p. 15.

47.  Veronica Ions, Indian Mythology, Hamlyn, London, 1967, p. 25.

48.  Morris Jastrow Jr., op. cit., p. 173, note 2.

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