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Open letter to science editors




To the Editor of KRONOS:

Since the publication of our paper, "Analysis of the Babylonian Observations of Venus", in KRONOS II:2, pages 3-26, our continuing work on the subject has brought to light a number of minor changes and clarifications that might be made. We have also found that we made several errors in our Tables I and II, which listed the data recorded on the various tablets.

On page 18, at the end of the first paragraph, we would now add: "(unless, of course, the year formula in 8b is counted as a label)".

On page 19, in Year 5a, it seems slightly more likely, in the light of the various alternative readings and their overall weight, that the interval was 15 days rather than 16 days, and that the date of reappearance was the 17th rather than the 18th.

On page 19, in Year 5b, it seems slightly more likely that the dates of disappearance and reappearance, respectively, were the 24th and the 28th, rather than the 25th and the 29th. This is indicated by B. M. 42033, a tablet which was not included in Table I or 11, which we plan to discuss at some future date.

On page 20, in Year 12, it seems slightly more likely that the date of disappearance was the 8th rather than the 9th, and that the interval was 5 months 17 days rather than 5 months 16 days. In the last line of Year 12, "in" should have been "is".

On page 22, in Table I, the entry for Year 21a on B. M. 41688 should have been

17 [+10?], 28 [?] (       ) 3

since it appears that the initial numbers are alternative dates for the disappearance, rather than for the interval, and that the reappearance was on the 3rd of some month not readable on this tablet.

On page 22, in Table II, "B. M. 2033" should be "B. M. 34227". The entry for Year 21a on this tablet should probably have been

I 27 (      ) 3 W

and the entry for Year 5a should probably have been

W II 2 (       ) II 28, 15 E

though the presence of the number 28 remains mysterious.

If we were preparing Table I and Table II today, we would also add some readings from two other tablets, whose correct position in the Tables we had not yet discovered at the time of publication. We hope to discuss those additional tablets, B. M. 41498 and B. M. 42033, on some future occasion.

In the Bibliography, we listed Huber's review of Weir as "Unpublished as of early 1974", which was correct. We have now learned that this review, which we had seen only in typescript, was later published in Bibliotheca Orientalis, XXXI (1974), 86-88.

None of these additions and corrections has any effect on the arguments and analyses presented in our paper.

Lynn E. Rose and Raymond C. Vaughan

To the Editor of KRONOS:

My paper "On the Convection of Electric Charge by the Rotating Earth" (KRONOS, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 12-30) suggests that "waves of potential gradient" (Loeb) initiated by solar flares may transiently alter the electrical balance between the earth and the interplanetary plasma, imposing unusual electric-field strengths (increases or decreases) on the magnetospheric and atmospheric regions. According to Science News for June 18, 1977, R. Holzworth and F. Mozer reported just such an effect at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The two Berkeley physicists examined more than 50 hours of atmospheric electric-field data from balloon-borne instruments aloft during the solar flares of August 1972 and found that "the ambient electric field in the earth's atmosphere increased concurrently" with the arrival of flare-associated energetic particles (see abstract in EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. U. 58, 402, June 1977). The increase amounted to about five to ten percent at sea level. Since an increase in negative charge on the earth, consistent with the suggested cause of the rotational glitch during the same period of flare activity, would steepen the atmospheric electric field, it would appear that the findings of Holzworth and Mozer lend credence to the proposed mechanism.

The Berkeley scientists reported that the enhanced electric field caused "a dramatic increase in worldwide thunderstorm activity," possibly due to "more efficient electrical connection" between the troposphere and the ionosphere" and "enhanced polarisation of water droplets in the cloud."

Ralph E. Juergens

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