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Open letter to science editors

 
PLANETARY OBSERVATIONS OF THE T'ANG

Charles Raspil

First, l'd like to thank Dr. Alfred DeGrazia-who wasn't able to attend this
conference-for allowing me to make this presentation.

My topic will focus on planetary observations made during the T'ang dynasty of
China from the years 618 through 906 AD. But before delving into these
observations, I'd like to explain why I've researched this subject.

As is well known here, Velikovsky put a chronological cap on his research into
celestial anomalies. The cap was the year 687 B.C.E. Nevertheless, I had
found data that led me to believe that what Velikovsky had found within a
certain historical period, was neither temporally, nor, as structurally
limited as his scenario had become. Indeed, more recent anomalous material
beyond Velikovsky' s time limit I had found to be equally provocative; and
though I'm still not sure of much of its meaning or significance, the material
does point to a Solar System within which are forces that are radically
different than those that are acceptable to Astronomy today. Being as
specific as possible, the material seems to suggest:

1. the one-time presence or importance of other forces within the Solar
System, forces that may be electrical or electro-magnetic, but in any case,
are strong enough to greatly disrupt planetary orbits (ideas originated by
Ralph Juergens, and taken up by Earl Milton and Alfred DeGrazia in their
Solaria Binaria). Also, these forces may have either disappeared or
decreased over time.

2. that this force may be in some way related to how the Sun and the stars
shine, or procure their energy.

These forces seem to appear sporadically, present either manifestly or
implicitly during episodes of celestial anomaly. A certain class of these
anomalies includes cases of conventionally inexplicable planetary
observations. Assuming the credibility of these observations (and admittedly
such an assumption is crucial) by retrocalculation planets appear so far out
of their wonted spots, that new forces must be invoked to explain the
phenomenon. Surprisingly, I have found that planetary positional anomalies
are not as rare as I had thought them to be; rather, they often appear in the
literature with more uniformitarily acceptable observations. However, while
the latter are enthusiastically accepted, the former are usually dismissed,
with their sources damned. A large sample of this class of anomaly will be
the prime subject of this presentation.

A famed expert on T'ang China, Edward Schafer, has listed in his work on T'ang
astronomy. Pacing The Void , a number of astronomical observations recorded
in this dynasty's annals of state. This discussion, I should note, in part
summarizes a paper that I hope to see published soon by Aeon, in which I
attempt to analyze the planetary observations that Schafer had transcribed.

Probably because of his shock at finding so many incredible astronomical
observations (for e.g., fixed stars that blink on and off, or disappear for
awhile, or appear with horns or other appendages; or planets that give off
ribbon or flag -Iike emanations), Schaefer attributes to T'ang astronomers
talents that suggest that their greater competence is as whimsical poets, in
effect downgrading their competence as observers of precision. Schaefer
transcribes about 70 to 80 of these observations, and at least in this book,
does not try to analyze the reliability or veracity of the observations. He
just reports the date of the observations and the planets' positions in terms
of the Chinese zodiac, and helpfully, correlates their positions to
approximate Western asterisms. These observations mostly appear in tabular
form. An example of one of Schaefer's transcriptions follows:

"March 17 through April 15, 755: Mars and Venus fight in the hsius Pleiades
and Net, and then into the hsius Well and Ghost."

The hsius, (also called Lunar Mansions) are Chinese asterisms that divide the
sky into 28 longitudinal sectors, resembling conceptionally the sections of
an orange. The hsius vary in width, some are over 30 degrees wide, some less
than 2 degrees. They extend in length from north celestial pole to south
celestial pole. Because of their standard width of thirty degrees, Western
asterisms cannot always be correlated by transferring them to any particular
hsiu. Therefore, parts of Western asterisms may appear in more than one
hsiu.

In the above example, Mars and Venus "fight" through hsius that correspond to
the Western asterlsms Hyades and the Plelades and the star Aldebarren, and
then finish the "battle" in hsius that correspond to the constellations,
Gemini and Cancer. For the record, by retrocalculation (I used the software
EZ Cosmos ) Mars and Venus were in the original asterisms, but never spilled
into Gemini and Cancer.

The term "fight" or "attack" is used commonly in these observations (most of
which in any case describe planetary conjunctions) and seems to describe
planets in close proximity. However, the terms also seem to connote
repulsions and attractions, whereby planetary movements may even be visible.

Finally, not all of the observations provide enough information to make a good
retrocalculation. Following Schafer's transcription, the annals do not
provide specific dates of the year. Also, unlike Western and Mideastern
astronomy, the annals do not provide specific measurements of positions in
terms of declination and Right Ascension (RA) within a particular hsiu
(though sometimes, such problems are ameliorated when either the annals
describe an occultation of a fixed star, or, pinpoint an event within a
sufficiently narrow hsiu).

Rather than proceeding to document each particular observation, let me instead
summarize and highlight their results:

Of 78 T'ang observations made between June 24, 618 and March 16 and 17, 904,
as judged by retrocalculation, 45 may be said to be within the correct hsiu;
two may be said to be certainly correct, that is, they were observed to have
either occluded a fixed star or to have been occluded by the Moon; 4 may be
classified as uncertain (i.e. possible anomalies may be explained by copying
errors or garbled information); 1 may be considered as positionally correct
but behaviorally anomalous (thus, on the morning of March 18, 904, Venus was
observed near the Pleiades blazing like fire. The next morning, to observers,
Venus appeared to have developed three horns, somewhat resembling a flower,
and then began to tremble and shake. By retrocalculation, Venus was exactly
where it should have been. It is its behavior that produces the anomaly); 8
may be considered as possibly anomalous, that is, planets' positions or dates
are so indefinite that one cannot certainly state that an anomaly occurred;
and finally, 18 may be definitely considered to be anomalous, in which
planetary movements or positions at certain times do not match retrocalculated
locations.

Looking at these 18 anomalies, many of the positional differences appear to be
extreme, with planetary positions off by as much as 135 degrees (Mars in
April of 797) 120 degrees (Mars on 5/23/636) and 75 degrees (Venus on
10/31/707). And yet, other positional differences are relatively small, such
as 2 degrees in describing Venus' position in 719, or by 9 degrees of RA, and
2.5 degrees of Declination between 9/18 and 10/16/757 in describing a "fight"
between Mars and Venus, or by 7 degrees of Declination in an occultation of
Jupiter by the Moon on 10/9/834.

Anomalies may be mixed in with expected planetary behavior. That is, in a
conjunction of several planets, some of the planets are where they should be;
some are not.

All of the planets (except probably Saturn) at one time or another were
observed in anomalous positions.

Do these anomalies show any patterns? That is, do the planets continue to act
anomalously over an extended period of time; and can elements of causation be
then deduced from their behavior? Thus, for eg., if Mars is out of position
in a conjunction with Venus, will subsequent observations of Mars (or even
Venus) be affected by this prior anomaly?

While there seem to be periods in which anomalies continue rather unabated
(for e.g., in mid-8th Century, or during the last two decades of the 7th
Century), no consecutive pattern occurs. Several consecutive anomalies may
happen; and then an acceptable observation will recur. Moreover, planets may
appear to follow a cosmic timetable. If a planet is not where should be at
time A, it seems to be able to adapt and alter its movements to return to
where it should be at time B.

Another important criterion in judging the validity of these observations is
the factor of simultaneity. Finding disruptions of nature in approximately
the same timeframe over various geographical locations obviously will lend
credence to observational anomaly. While it is possible that positional
disruptions of the planets may not disrupt the Earth, one would think that it
should have some observable effect on nature.

Well, are there any correlations of these T'ang planetary observational
anomalies with other natural disruptions? There are.

In 797 in April Mars was observed entering the Southern Dipper, a hsiu which
corresponds with the constellation Sagittarius. Mars was described as
appearing blood red. By retrocalculation, Mars is in Leo, and nearly
stationary. This is a discrepancy of 135 degrees. Incidentally, Sagittarius
is visible at night in April.

On another Martian note, a French medieval chronicler (Adonis ca. 869) cites a
Byzantine source that claims that Mars could not be seen from July, 798 until
July,799.

Do any events correlate with these Martian anomalies? Let's look.

The English Medieval annalist Hovedon records a lunar obscuration on March 26,
797 . Yet, retrocalculation indicates that no lunar eclipse is possible on
this date. The moon is 42% full, implying therefore, the impossibility of a
normal lunar eclipse which requires a full moon.

In 797 the annals record floods at Rome.

For the year 797 in England, the Renaissance historian Holinshed records
that fiery dragons were seen in the air in England. Two grievous plagues
followed.

797 or thereafter, darkness was recorded for 17 days in Byzantium.

798- In Ireland, the annalist records a "nix Magna", a Great snow, with many
dying.

798, 6/20. In China, a meteor falls in the northwest (This date does match a
Clubean scenario)

798- According to Hovedon, a sudden conflagration destroyed London.

799- the day before St. Patrick's Day, the Irish Annals record a great wind
accompanied by great thunder and lightning. 1100 people die. Also,
thereafter, the sea divides the isle of Fith into 3 parts. (the year may be
801 or 803).

799- Hovedon reports that many ships were wrecked at sea this year.

It is obvious that the history of this entire period is sketchy. However,
some strange phenomena do occur.

PLANETARY OBSERVATIONS FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE OF THE T'ANG

There are 15 of these observations; 9 of them are Islamic. Anomalies do
appear amongst them. To whit:

1. 682, month 8, day 3. In the annals of Japan, the Nihongi, a body that a
gloss identifies with Venus appears at twilight and passes from east to west
. From analysis of Japanese solar eclipse data that appears in these annals,
I've found the corresponding Gregorian date to be probably 8/12/682. By
retrocalculation, Venus was a couple of asterisms west of the sun, a morning
star.

2. 692, month 7, day 28, Japan. Mars and Jupiter approach and recede from
each other 4 times in the room of one pace, shining and disappearing.
Again, using solar eclipse dating, the Gregorian date is probably 9/15/692.
By retrocalculation, Jupiter and Mars are separated by over 4 degrees in RA,
and by 3 degrees in declination. Again, note that conjunctions seem to bring
out strange planetary movements (cf, "attacks" and "flights").

3. 807, 3/17 through 3/25. A European source states that Mercury tarried
across the sun for 8 days. By retrocalculation, Mercury is never closer than
17 degrees in RA and 4 degrees in declination away from the Sun.

4. July, 712 through July, 713, Mars could not be seen (cf, the year 797
above). This report is from S. Florenti ca. 1236, and whose source is
uncertain.

5. The 797 report from Byzantium, op. cit.

Most of the other observations are Islamic. They range in time from 10/26/830
to 2/28/903. There are nine of them, and all but one of them are close to
where they should be. The one odd one is an observation of 10/4/901 that
describes a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. By retrocalculation, on 10/4,
the 2 planets are several degrees apart. By 10/13, the 2 get as close as 0.5
degrees. R.R. Newton rejects the 10/4 date and makes it 10/13.

While the "rectitude" of most of the Islamic observations may lead one to
doubt the veracity of the T'ang material, I do note that T'ang observations
within approximately the same timeframe, 830 to 903, are mostly within the
expected parameters of retrocalculation (the expected paper in Aeon should
make this clearer).

OTHER EVIDENCE

After highlighting these planetary positional anomalies, let me now return to
my purpose, which is to present evidence that forces other than gravity may
have affected the Solar System. Because of time limitations, what follows
will be a bare outline of this evidence.

As the T'ang observations suggested, these forces may have played themselves
out during apparent planetary conjunctions, that is, during periods of
certain planetary alignments. A suspicion of the existence of such forces
and their manifestation during certain planetary alignments is cited by many
astronomical authorities of the past. So, according to Kepler, "experience
shows that all sorts of meteors were seen when the planets were configured in
aspects, whereas the air was undisturbed otherwise." Likewise, many medieval
astrologers believed that great conjunctions in some way caused momentous
events that included not only great religious movements, but also changes in
the species.

Also, these forces may somehow affect the physical appearances of the planets,
changing their apparent brightness and size, such as we saw in the
description of Venus in March of 904. or of Mars in 797. There is also
evidence of changes in the immediate surroundings of the planets. In Clube
and Napier's Cosmic Winter, on page 85 appears a 9th C AD depiction of the
planets in which they appear amidst cometary configurations (Figure 1). The
source is a Baghdad astronomer of the 9th Century. Notice how certain head
coverings and architectural forms, resemble these configurations. Also, note
how big the planets appear.

Other strange planetary metamorphoses are recorded, though some may have to be
disentangled from myth. Thus, at the epiphany of the celestial monster
Typhon , and at the birth of Confucius , Greek and Chinese sources
respectively ascribe to the planets strange configurations, appearing like
animals or old men. More recent observations of the planets, both telescopic
and non-telescopic, also reveal strange configurations, such as horns, rings,
and other protuberances.

These forces, as I alluded to earlier, also seem to have something to do with
the way the sun and the stars are fueled. I include here examples of solar
behavior that contradict conventional solar theory.

a. Eclipses that begin at the center of the solar disk and spread out
radiatively.

b. Dimmings or diminutions of the solar light (followed thereafter by
the moon) which seem unrelated to changes in the terrestrial
atmosphere.

c. Statements characterizing the sun as becoming "eroded", suggesting
sun spots of
enormous size.

d. Frequent naked eye observations of sun spots, again suggesting sun
spots of great size

e. Descriptions of halos and bows in the Sun's vicinity that seem to
rule out either atmospheric distortion or source.

f. Solar eclipses of unusual duration or time of occurrence, also
accompanied by unusual
phenomena, including some effects that are volcanic or tectonic.

Given then the existence of solar anomalies, then we may expect stellar
anomalies too. Examples of such stellar anomalies include diminutions of
brightness prior to "eclipses", stars that blink on and off, and stars that
appear to be horned. So, at the death of the T'ang statesman Wang T'so, a
poet wrote that "the stellar asterisms all have horns, sun and moon are
almost without light.

Likewise, a brief discussion is in order regarding the controversy that has
erupted over past descriptions of the color of the Star Sirius. Ancient
observers have described this star as appearing ruddy in hue, a description
that contradicts modern observations. The star now appears to be blue-white.
While this issue has become moot over the meaning of words used to describe
the color red, what has not been discussed in the debate is the assertion by
Pliny and others that the rising of Sirius actually induced a significant
terrestrial tidal pull.

Likewise, the effects of these unknown forces may have been felt on our own
planet. Literally shocking events that suggest differences in electric
potential between the Earth and its immediate celestial environment often
seem to have occurred in the past. Many annals seem to describe such
phenomena. Known as the Fire of Heaven, Ignis Coelis in Latin, on Yin in
Chinese, the phenomenon is conventionally identified with lightning, and
indeed a study of the phenomenon's many manifestations seems to confirm such
an identity. But of course, lightning is an electrical discharge, and what
must be explained is why this phenomenon used to be so sorely feared, even to
the point that its advent was often explained or invoked as divine
retribution. Didn't the ancients know enough to come in out of the rain?

On the contrary, many ancient annals seem to regard these discharges as
unexpected, and hence, events of great fear, actual bolts out of the blue.
These discharges also seem to have occurred over wider areas and with greater
force than they do now, say, during a conventional thunderstorm. Even when
not specifically identified, many descriptions of ancient events suggest the
presence of the Ignis Coelis. during the Civil War in Rome in 50 BC
(incidentally, a time during which Mars was observed behaving anomalously),
Lucan records
that Mount Etna erupted with its flames emerging, not straight upward as
would be expected, but arced, facing Italy. This phenomenon suggests the
presence of another force. Further, Pliny records that in that time, "In
Italy people ceased to build towers between Terracina and the Temple of
Feronia, as every tower was destroyed by lightning."

In 586 AD Gregory of Tours said that a manifestation of Ignis Coelis lasted 7
days and reduced 2 islands off the coast of France to ashes, slaying all of
the inhabitants.

The medieval historian Hovedon recounts similar events that he found in the
annals of England. In describing this phenomenon. he speaks of the "dreadful
Ignis Coelis as the sign of the coming of the Antichrist".

In the annals of Ireland, this phenomenon is regarded with significance. So,
in recording that the Irish King Fincha Sraibhtine, whose first regnal year
was 286 AD, was named after events that occurred during his reign. We learn
that his name means "showers of fire".

Moreover, these annals record that during the year 767 AD, on Michaelmas Eve.
the Lamhchomart of Fire from Heaven began. The event was memorialized by the
:The Fair of the Clapping of The Hand", so called because of the "fearful
thunder and lightning" at this time. . The Fire from Heaven is burned the
mountains of Connaught this year, and the lakes and streams dried up; and
many persons were burned by it. Note that this phenomena does not appear to
be directly associated with the meteor streams that Victor Clube has
suggested.

In China, the annals frequently record the existence of mysterious emanations
known as Ch'i. These records seem to describe a phenomenon whose resemblance
to electrical leakage or slow discharge is pronounced.

The "Velikovskian" has just published my article on a form that appears
commonly in mythical and religious art. Labeling this form the "spatter".
I've produced evidence in the article that suggests that this form might be
connected with electrical forces. Here, let me present some new material. In
Leonard Loeb's Electrical Coronas, the author discusses how electrical
discharges penetrate or scar dielectrics placed between anode and cathode.
In this discussion, Loeb describes phenomena known as Lichtenberg figures.
These appear as the scars of the electrical discharges that have penetrated
the dielectric. In early issues of Pensee, Ralph Juergens suggested that
some of the lunar craters may have been remnant Lichtenberg figures, formed
during periods of electrical discharge between the Moon and another celestial
body.

Figures 2a and 2b, 3, 4, and 5 show several of these figures , their
variations due to changes in the nature and environment of the anode and
cathode. Note, in figure 6 that figures resembling an actual spatter do
appear. Since most of the art that I have copied (see my articles in the
"Velikovskian" on the Trism and the Spatter) originally appeared in
trismatic apparitions, forms that I take to have appeared during certain
conjunctions of celestial bodies, we may begin to appreciate the primary
importance of electro-magnetism as the force that brings these bodies
together.

Finally, as a hint that the surmises appearing here may not be as fantastic as
they seem, this citation appears in a textbook on Lichtenberg figures:
"Surface discharges will also occur on natural dielectrics in the solar system
when these surfaces are exposed to large fluxes of energetic particles. This
condition can be found, for example, where magnetospheric currents interact
with the surfaces of the giant planets and their satellites.

The above examples suggest that electricity may be the unknown force hiding
within our lists of past anomaly. These examples may serve as a starter
toward more intensive research on this subject.

References

Pacing The Void. T'ang Approaches To The Stars, Edward H. Shaefer University
of California Press, Berkeley, 1977.

For a complete discussion of the hsiu, see Derek Walters' Chinese Astrology,
The Aquarian Press, 1987, Worcester, England, pp 92 - 154.
"EZ Cosmos, Version 3.0, 1990 and 1991, Astrosoft Inc.
Robert R. Newton, Medieval Chronicles and The Rotation of The Earth (MCRE),
John Hopkins Press, 1972, Chapter 15 (the section on eclipse) from the
Byzantine Empire). See also Needham, Joseph and Wang Ling, Science and
Civilization in China, Cambridge University Press, 1962, Volume 2, page 293,
in which Needham recounts a story about the Buddhist astronomer I-Hsing, who
flourished during the T'ang. I-Hsing mentions that during the later Wei
Dynasty in China (534-543 AD), Mars also had been lost to observation.
The Annals of Roger de Hovedon, 2 volumes, London, 1853, the information
listed in chronological order.
MCRE, op. cit., appendix.
Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland. and Ireland, 2 volumes, AMS
Press, New York City, 1965, volume 1, page 653.
MCRE, op. cit., chapter 15.
Annals of The Kingdom of Ireland By The Four Masters From The Earliest Period
to The Year 1616, John 0. Donovan, Ed., AMS Press, new York City, 1966,
volume 1, pages 402-403.
Pacing The Void, op. cit., pages 94-98.
Hovedon, op. cit., by chronology.
The Annals of Ireland, op. cit., pages 407-40B.
Hovedon, op. cit., by chronology.
The Nihongi, The Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan, Shoku Nihongi:
iv - vi, J.B. Snellen, translator, volume 14, Second Series.
Ibid.
MCRE, op. cit., chapter 15.
MCRE, op. cit., chapter 15.
Ancient Planetary Observations and The Validity of Ephemeris Time, Robert R
Newton, Johns Hopkins Press, 1976, chapter.
History of Magic and Experiment Science, Lynn Thorndyke, Columbia University,
New York City, 1923 - 1958, volume 7, page 20 The source that Thorndyke uses
in Kepler is Opera 1, 586, Tertius Interviens, Thesis 46.
Ibid , Thorndyke, volume 3, page 895 et seq , the section on Peter of Abano.
IThe cosmic Winter, Victor Clube and Bill Napier, 1990, Basil Blackwell Ltd.,
Oxford. Here let me note some errors that were made by the authors in their
reproduction of this depiction. First, the author of the work depicted is
not Kitab-al-Mughni. The latter is actually the depicted manuscript's title.
Second, the depicted manuscript is upside down. If you turn the depiction on
itsd, you will see the orbs' or planets' thick "eyebrows" (cf, descriptions
in Islamic poetry of the angelic houri). For this reappraisal throught
translation of the Arabic, I'd like to thank Mr. Khaleo Reheem of Cairo,
Egypt.
See Hygenius as cited by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, New York City,
1980, page 221 Or see The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Rolfe Humphrles, translator,
Indianapolis, 1955, page 117.
Paclng The Void, op cit , pages 225-226.
The Books of Charles Fort, volume l, The Book of The Damned, 1941, The
Fortean Society, New York City, pages 341-342.
Needham, op cit , volume 3, page 410 et seq.
There are many sources that report such events. One notable one appears in
Worlds in collision, Delta Books, New York City, 1950, page 254 There
Velikovsky cites this Taoist text: "When the sky hostile to living things,
wishes to destroy them, it burns them; the sun and moon lose their form and
are eclipsed; the five planets leave their paths; the four seasons encroach
one upon another; daylight's obscured: It thunders in winter; hoarfrost falls
in summer; the atmosphere is thick and humans are choked; the curtains of the
age are disturbed; all living things harass each other "
See Needham, op cit , volume 3, page 410 et seq.
Ibid Also see The Historical Supernovas, David H Clark and F. Richard
Stephenson, Pergamon Press, Elmsford, NY, 1977, pages 92-94 for two such
observations.
See Pliny's Natural History, Books 1 and 2, H. Racham translator, G B Loeb
Classical Library, 1967, chapters 28 and 29.
MCR£, op cit , many examples appear here.
Schaefer, op. cit., page 130.
Pliny, op cit , chapter 39.
Lucan's Pharsalia, R Graves, translator, Penguin Classics, 1957, Baltimore,
Md , page 40 et seq.
Pliny, op cit , chapter 40.
The History of The Franks by Gregory of Tours, O. M. Dalton, translator,
Oxford, 1927, 2 volumes, volume 2, chapter 8, page 347.
Hovedon, op cit , page 111 et seq.
The Annals of Ireland, op cit , volume 1, page 126, and footnote.
Ibid , footnote on page 371.
Ibid , volume 2, pages 638 - 63g.
Clube, V , op cit , The Cosmic Winter.
Walters, op cit , pages 236 - 239.
"The Velikovskian", Volume 2, Number 4, "Spatters and PIanetary Iconography",
Charles Raspil, pages 90-120.
Loeb, Leonard, The Electrical Corona, University of California Press, 1965,
Berkeley.
Pensee, volume 4, number 4, Fall 1974, Ralph Juergens, "Of The Moon and
Mars', pages 21-30 and volume 4, number 5, pages 27-39.
These figures appear in Loeb, op cit. Figure 2 ( a and b) depict a basic
Lichtenberg figure. Note the dendritic rays emanating from its center. This
figure is on the top of page 71. Figure 3 shows a variation and appears on
page 205. Figure 4 is another variation and appears on page 209. It shows a
special affinity to some petroglyphic depictions. Figure 5 (page 204) is
most like the form that I've named the spatter, a form that commonly appears
in reIigious and mythological art.
"The Velikovskian", Volume 2, Number 2, "Trisms and Planetary Iconography",
pages 55-87, Charles Raspil.
Peratt, Anthony L., Physics of The Plasma Universe, Springer-Verlag, New
York, Berlin, 1992, page 156.
 

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