PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOX

 

Introduction

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
 

 

PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOX

 

The Earth's rotation axis is not fixed in space. Like a rotating toy top, the direction of the rotation axis executes a slow precession with period of 26,000 years for the entire ecliptic of our planetary bodies to travel around our sun, a trip of 360 degrees. Each one of the 12 signs of the zodiac takes about 2100 years for our solar system to pass through. Every 72 years we actually move backward 1 degree. After 2100 years we move out of one age and into another.

The precession is like a star clock that helps us date the rotations of earth in our solar system through our galaxy.

At the time of the birth of Christ we were moving out of the Age of Aries which was the Roman Empire into the Age of Pisces. That happened around 60 BC. The early Christians were aware of this and used as their symbol the 2 fishes going in opposite directions.

Since the rotation axis is precessing in space, the orientation of the Celestial Equator also precesses with the same period. This means that the position of the equinoxes is changing slowly with respect to the background stars. This precession of the equinoxes means that the right ascension and declination of objects changes very slowly over a 26,000 year period. This effect is negligibly small for casual observing, but is an important correction for precise observations.

HISTORY

The Babylonians possibly knew already that the rotation of the stellar constellations was subject to change, but Hipparchus was, in the 2nd century B.C., the first astronomer who gave a description of this phenomenon. It lasted until 1543, however, before Copernicus associated this change with a changing direction of the rotation axis of the Earth. Because of the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon on the equatorial bulge of the rotating earth, taking into account t the angle of 23.439 degrees between the rotation axis of the earth and the normal vector to the plane in which the earth orbits around the sun (the ecliptic), the rotation axis moves with respect to a space-fixed reference frame.

This motion is called precession and proceeds in about 25,800 years along a cone with a half apex angle of 23.439 degrees, which causes the vernal equinox to move along the ecliptic by 50.291 arcseconds per year. This precession of the equinoxes affects the length of a tropical year as well as the length of a sidereal day. Because the directions to the sun and the moon vary and because of gravitational forces from the planets, the true rotation axis wobbles around the precession cone. De largest of these nutations amounts to 9.2 arcseconds in 18.6 years and is caused by the moon.

Precession was the third-discovered motion of the Earth, after the far more obvious daily rotation and annual revolution. Precession is caused by the gravitational influence of the Sun and the Moon acting on the Earth's equatorial bulge. To a much lesser extent, the planets exert influence as well.

 

POLAR MOTION

 

Euler predicted in 1758 that the rotation axis would also show a motion with respect to an earth-fixed reference frame. Eventually, in 1891, it was Chandler who determined the periodf this free polar motion from some 50 years of observations of the geographical latitude of atronomical observatories. The Chandler period (435 days) deviates from the Euler period (304 days) because of the non-rigidity and the inhomogeneous mass distribution of the earth. The radius of the Chandler wobble of the rotation pole is about 6 metres.

In 1899 the ILS (International Latitude Service) was established to coordinate the observations of the rotation pole. Using these observations, the forced polar motions that had been predicted by Thompson in 1876 could be confirmed. These motions are caused by the gravitational forces of sun and moon as well as by geophysical processes within the atmosphere, the oceans and the interior of the earth. They amount to about 3 metres at the earth's poles.

Since the end of last century, it has been assumed that the rotation pole also shows a secular drift of about 10 cm per year in the direction towards Ellesmere Island, possibly caused by post-glacial and tectonic uplifts. In 1962 the ILS was superseded by the IPMS (International Polar Motion Service) and in 1988 the IPMS and the Earth Rotation Section of the BIH (Bureau International de l'Heure) were combined to form the IERS (International Earth Rotation Service; Central Bureau at the Paris Observatory).

 

VARIATIONS IN LENGTH OF THE DAY

 

The Babylonians as well as the Greeks assumed that the earth was at rest at the center of the universe. Some astronomers claimed that the earth itself rotated on its axis, Heraclides in the 4rd century B.C. the first, but in general the astronomers adhered to the arguments of Aristotle (4rd century B.C.) and Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.), which had 'proved' that the earth could not move. Only in the 16th century did Copernicus come up with convincing arguments for the opposite case.

The period of rotation (length-of-day) of the earth, however, was assumed to be constant until well into this century, apart from a secular change. In 1754 Kant predicted that friction with the tidal forces on earth would cause a deceleration of the earth's rotation, but it took more than a century before Ferrel and Delaunay could confirm this effect. The secular decrease of the rotation rate causes n increase of the length-of-day of about 2 milliseconds per century. This value can be determined by comparing the observations of eclipses of the sun and the moon by the Babylonians, Greeks, Arabs and Chinese with computed eclipses when using a constant rotation rate. At present also fossiles and paleomagnetic data are used to determine the increase in length-of-day.

Not until 1875 the surmise was raised by Newcomb that also the rate of rotation would be subject to irregularities. Only in 1936 was this confirmed by the determination of a seasonal.

Space-geodetic techniques:

Since the advent of the modern space-geodetic positioning techniques, VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry), LLR (Lunar Laser Ranging) and SLR (Satellite Laser Ranging) in the sixties and GPS (Global Positioning System) in the past years, an ever-increasing number of variations in both nutation and polar motion and length-of-day have been found. From space-geodetic observations, the irregularities in the earth's rotation are now routinely determined at intervals of 1 day and even a few hours, with precisions which are less than 0.5 milliarcsecond for nutation and polar motion and less than 0.05 millisecond for length-of-day or UT, corresponding to 1.5 cm at the earth's surface.

 

 

(Vernal Equinox takes 25,800 years to transit all twelve ages)

 
The Platonic cycle causes a slow backwards movement of the sun’s apparent position in the Zodiac when viewed on successive Vernal Equinoxes. We refer to this slow-backwards movement as the precession of the equinoxes.
The sun’s apparent position moves a little bit west in a constellation when observed on the same day each year; it takes an equinox sun approximately 2,150 years to transit one of the twelve constellations on its 25,800-year jaunt around the Zodiac. At this point in history, the Vernal-Equinox sun is just entering Aquarius on the first day of spring. This is the scientific explanation for what we call the dawning of the Age of Aquarius or a new age.
 
If we were to check the sun’s position in the Zodiac on successive Vernal Equinoxes, we would see that it will take approximately 2,150 years for the spring sun to travel through the constellation of Aquarius on its way to Capricorn. If we were to live for 25,800 years, or one great year, we would witness twelve new ages.  In the long view of things, the Earth has been at this place in the astronomical calendar thousands of times before, as each Platonic year spirals onward. Consider the twelve star constellations of the Zodiac the same way we think about the twelve months in the annual cycle of our planet. The Earth year consists of twelve months of about thirty days in each month. In the Platonic year, there are twelve ages of nearly 2,150 years in each age.
The name of an age is taken from the name of the constellation that the Vernal-Equinox sun or the spring equinoctial point is traversing. When used correctly, the Zodiac is the master calendar or the face of a clock for the Platonic year.
Because there is no line in the heavens between the star constellations of the Zodiac, we find all the different shamans on the planet quoting us a different time for the start of our impending new age. Most people who are “into” this esoteric knowledge point to the year A.D. 2000, plus or minus 40 years, as the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Since such a gradual shift of ages is transpiring and there is no precise date for this event, we will have to be satisfied with just welcoming you to the dawning of a new age.
 
The astronomical ruins around the Earth prove that the ancient shamans knew a lot more than we usually give them credit for. They understood not only the Platonic year but some subtle variations in its slow-working celestial mechanism.
 For example, many of these observatories, including Stonehenge on England’s Salisbury Plain, accurately record the 18.6-year cycle of the moon. This cycle causes every eclipse of the sun to repeat itself at a different place on the earth every 18.6 years. It also creates an 18.6-year wave or nodding in the precessional movement called nutation.
Should we try to trace the sun’s vernal-crossing point as it moves a bit west each year on the equator itself, we would not discern any even pattern in its movement because of the nutational cycle. However, when we observe the position of the sun in the Zodiac on successive Vernal Equinoxes, the westerly movement will appear “steady” as each year passes, because the stars and sun are too far away to be affected by the cycle of the moon.  Our ancient ancestors not only understood the patterns of the Platonic year but they also incorporated the reckoning of that long cycle in the designs of their great monuments. We shall explore some of these markers, including the Great Sphinx, as we progress through the chapters of this book.
 
 Now that we have been exposed to Plato’s year with its twelve ages, let us create an imaginary time machine that we may use to view some of our previous ages. Climb aboard, set the “year” knob for “slow reverse”, push the “travel” button on the main control panel, and hold onto your head — we’re out of here.
Secrets of the Sphinx is an uplifting experience and an easy book to read. You will be thinking about this publication long after you set it dow

 

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