Precession of the Equinox I



Precession of the Equinox is the observed phenomenon whereby the equinoctial point moves backward through the constellations of the Zodiac at the rate of approximately 50 arc seconds annually.
In examining the mechanics of the motion of precession, one notices:

The North Celestial Pole on its 23.45 degree incline slowly traces a large circle in the sky, pointing to different pole stars over thousands of years

An observer on Earth, at the point of equinox changes his orientation to inertial space at the current rate of about 50.29 arc seconds annually. At this rate the entire precession cycle time required to traverse all twelve constellations of the ancient Zodiac, is 25,770 years, although evidence indicates it is declining.


Some years ago it was observed that if the Earth’s axis did wobble due to lunisolar forces it would slowly change the seasons within the calendar. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere it would eventually become winter in July and August, and summer in January and February. This is because the seasons are indirectly caused by axial tilt (summer when that hemisphere leans closer to Earth, and winter when it leans away). Therefore, if the axis were tilted for any other reason, such as lunisolar wobble, it would cause a seasonal shift. Noticing that the seasons have not been changing (the equinox still falls at the same time in the calendar each year after adjusting for leap movements synchronizing the Earth’s rotation with the calendar), lunisolar precession theory requires that the equinoctial point itself must precess around the Earth’s orbit path around the Sun. This theoretical solution avoids the occurrence of seasonal shift that the original theory implied, but causes other problems because it implies the Earth does not complete a 360-degree motion around the Sun equinox to equinox.

To visualize the movement, if the Earth’s path around the Sun were made of 24,000 fixed positions numbered 1 through 24,000, then in year one the vernal equinox would occur in position 24,000, the next year it would occur in position 23,999, the next year it would occur in position 23,998, etc. slipping one position per year. At the end of 24,000 years, the vernal equinox would have regressed all the way around the Sun to occur once again at its original starting position.

Under lunisolar precession theory it is thought that the Sun and Moon’s gravitational influence acting upon the Earth’s bulge causes the Earth’s axial gyration that in turn results in the Earth’s changing orientation to inertial space, observed as Precession of the Equinox. The theorized annual axial tilt of about 50 arc seconds per year is thought to cause the equinox to occur slightly earlier in the Earth’s orbit path around the Sun, resulting in an orbit geometry of 359 degrees 59’ and 10” equinox to equinox. While this proposed solution works mathematically and avoids the problem of seasonal shift it does not agree with lunar cycles which indicate the Earth does indeed travel 360 degrees around the Sun in an equinoctial year. This can be proved by carefully examining lunar cycle equations and eclipse predictions. Indeed, eclipses have been accurately predicted for many years, long before the latest nuances of lunisolar precession theory required the Earth to have a like equinox approximately 22,000 miles short of a complete revolution around the Sun.

The authors of this paper would like to put forth a new model that more simply explains precession and current solar system mechanics. In the new model, our Sun curves through space. This motion of the Sun causes an apparent wobble to an observer on Earth, thus producing a precession of the equinox without creating any seasonal shifting issues, and without requiring any movement of the equinoctial points on the Earth’s orbit path, or new interpretations of equinoctial years, thereby allowing the equinoctial year to which we adjust UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) to reflect a 360 degree motion of the earth around the Sun.

New Solar System Model

According to Newtonian physics the only force that could cause the Sun to display such a curve would be another large mass to which the Sun is gravitationally bound, which is by definition a binary star system. In this model, the Copernican Third Motion of the Earth  would be caused primarily by the Sun’s curved path in a binary orbit, rather than by lunisolar forces.
Visually, the new model is one of a rotating object (the Earth) in an almost circular orbit around a second object (the Sun), which in turn is an elliptical orbit around a third object (the binary center of mass of the Sun and a companion star). If the Earth’s orbit and the Sun’s orbit are given, then the equations of classical mechanics predict that the axis of rotation of the first rotating object (the Earth) will precess (relative to inertial space) at a rate dictated by the Sun’s path around its binary center of mass. To an observer on Earth the first object’s axis will appear to precess by 360 degrees in the same amount of time it takes the second object to undergo a complete orbit around the third object, independent of the masses and distances involved. In this model the Earth’s axis does not really wobble, or change relative to the Sun, but it produces the same observable now attributed to lunisolar precession -- a precession of the equinox. From this we conclude that acceleration (and eventual deceleration) of the rate of precession will depend on the eccentricity of the binary orbit. From Kepler’s Third Law, we know that all orbits are elliptical and objects leaving apoapsis accelerate to periapsis and then decelerate leaving periapsis. Consequently, we now have an explanation for why the precession rate is accelerating, and we also have a logical reason for why the rate cannot be extrapolated ad infinitum . Indeed, the most significant clue that precession represents a binary orbit is its universally recognized but until now, unexplained acceleration.
Beyond explaining why precession now seems to accelerate, a binary star model also better explains other observed phenomena. For example, it explains the unusual distribution of angular momentum, a fact that has long perplexed scientists developing solar system formation theories

Kristen M. Neiling
Editor & Producer

CPLNews Agency


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