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Home » Writeups » Tracking Mars from Nov 11, 2011 up to Atonement Day 2015 » Exploring Astronomical markings of Atonement Day

Exploring Astronomical markings of Atonement Day


Column 1: Year
Columns 3-6: Sabbath/Jubilee year calculations
Column 8: Date
Column 9: Closeness of the conjunction (degrees)
Columns 11-12: Planets/Star involved in conjunction
Column 13: Day of month 7 on which the conjunction occurs
Columns 14-16: Data from which day of month was determined

Top of column 3: Sabbath/Jubilee year overall alignment – default of “0” aligns the pre-exile schedule to known historical datapoints
Top of column 4: Sabbath/Jubilee year gap in counting – default of “40” aligns the post-exile schedule to Zuckermann’s solution, “41” to Wacholder’s
Top of column 9: Setpoint for highlighting of conjunctions – Conjunctions closer than the setpoint (default 0.1) are highlighted in yellow

In order to identify day 10 of month 7, this study requires being able to identify the starting point of each month. A rough guess can be made from the Solex data, getting us to within a day of the correct answer – but in order to fine tune these guesses we need input from TorahCalendar. So the span of the data here is limited to just the years that TorahCalendar will process, between 3986 BC and 3016 AD.

One further limitation on the span of the data. This data comes from the Astronomical calendar, which was generated by the Solex program. In comparing the Solex and TorahCalendar data the dates begin to diverge when we go back further into the past than about -3200, being offset now by one more day than for more recent dates. This is possibly due to a small difference in lunar values used by TorahCalendar compared to Solex, or possibly another case of error accumulation for ancient dates. Solex is known to have much better precision for ancient dates than the more common ephemerides-based approaches – so I suspect that again in this case, Solex is the winner for precision. However, Solex doesn’t provide the fine-tuned new moon information of TorahCalendar, needed to determine the most likely starting day for each month. So the datapoints before -3200 where TorahCalender dates are found to be shifted by an extra day with respect to Solex have been left out of this study, giving us a starting point of about -3200 for the data chart.

From the perspective of the Sabbatical cycles I take the datapoints marked by “ 1 ” in column 6 to be of special interest, saying that the conjunction occurs at the beginning of a 7-year Sabbatical cycle. These cases have been highlighted by black outlines in columns 11-13.

From the perspective of the closeness of conjunctions I take the datapoints marked by yellow highlighting in column 9 to be of special interest, showing these conjunctions to be closer than 0.1 degree.

Where these two measures of special interest converge; where a datapoint shows both the black outlining and the yellow highlighting – this identifies one particular datapoint, the Venus/Regulus conjunction of the year 2036, as a point of greatest interest.

Venus/Regulus pattern
Another interesting pattern is found when we examine all of the Venus/Regulus conjunctions marked by black outlining. Looking at the years 1721, 2036, 2351, 2666, & 2981, we find these years to be evenly spaced, with a span of exactly 315 years = 45 x 7 between them:

1721/10/2 Venus/Regulus at .399 degree + 6 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 315 yrs =
2036/10/2 Venus/Regulus at .027 degree + 6 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 315 yrs =
2351/10/3 Venus/Regulus at .232 degree + 6 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 315 yrs =
2666/10/3 Venus/Regulus at .421 degree + 6 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 315 yrs =
2981/10/2 Venus/Regulus at .564 degree

The pattern doesn’t begin until 1721. Before 1721 we do find other Venus/Regulus conjunctions marking Atonement Day. It’s just that 1721 is when this marking first occurs at the beginning of a Sabbatical cycle. Going back further we find the very first case of a Venus/Regulus conjunction marking Atonement Day to be the year 311. It’s the gradual shifting of the planet cycles with respect to the Equinox which prevented Venus/Regulus from ever marking Atonement Day prior to the year 311. And it’s this same gradual shifting which eventually aligns the Venus cycle in such a way that for an extended period of time (over 1000 years) the Venus/Regulus conjunction now regularly marks not only the Day of Atonement but also the beginning of the Sabbatical cycle. The pattern continues at least up through the year 2981. Whether it continues beyond this point is yet to be determined. The next point in the pattern would be the year 3296, but this is beyond the range of years for which TorahCalendar can provide new moon data.

Mars/Regulus pattern
Looking at the Mars/Regulus conjunctions marked by black outlining, I’m not finding this kind of regularity. But the last occurrence in 2015 has the interesting feature of occurring not only in the first year of a Sabbatical cycle, but also in the first year of a Jubilee cycle, marking the beginning of a Jubilee year:

-1098/10/18 Mars/Regulus at 1.281 degree + 11 Jubilees and 3 sevens + 40 yr gap = 600 yrs =
-498/10/14 Mars/Regulus at 1.195 degree + 17 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 854 yrs =
356/9/23 Mars/Regulus at .929 degree + 33 Jubilees and 6 sevens = 1659 yrs =
2015/9/25 Mars/Regulus at .785 degree in a Jubilee year

Saturn/Regulus or Jupiter/Regulus pattern
We don’t find many occurrences of Saturn/Regulus or Jupiter/Regulus conjunctions marked by black outlining – but what we do find ends up being rather interesting. The year -85 is quite a special year astronomically – one of those rare years marked by triple or double conjunctions of both Saturn and Jupiter with Regulus, all in the same year. There’s a pair of these cases 59 years apart in the years -939 and -880, and then a second pair, again 59 years apart, in the years -85 and -26.

So in the year -85 we find triple conjunctions of both Jupiter and Saturn with Regulus, with Atonement Day being marked by the first of Saturn’s three conjunctions with Regulus. Then 40 Jubilees and 3 sevens later we again see Atonement Day marked, this time by a Jupiter/Regulus conjunction.

Now tying this in with the Mars and Venus patterns we’ve already looked at, we find the following set of signs marking Atonement Day:

-85/10/8 Saturn/Regulus at .467 degree + 40 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 1981 yrs =
1896/9/20 Jupiter/Regulus at .320 degree + 2 Jubilees and 3 sevens = 119 yrs =
2015/9/25 Mars/Regulus at .785 degree + 3 sevens = 21 yrs =
2036/10/2 Venus/Regulus at .027 degree

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