The cycle of lunar eclipses
When a lunar eclipse occurs, it’s part of a sequence of 1-4 occurrences, each six months after the last one. On the Hebrew calendar it also happens that two important festivals occur at the full moon six months apart, with Passover in month 1 and the Feast of Tabernacles in month 7. So when there’s a lunar eclipse at Passover, we may also get an eclipse at the feast of Tabernacles, and vice versa.
How often does this happen – a lunar eclipse at Passover and/or Tabernacles?
Looking at just total eclipses, we find that:
- Month 1 and month 7 total eclipses occur in sequences of 1-4 occurrences, 6 lunar months apart
- Between one of these sequences and the next is a span of 18 years
- Then we find a cluster of 2-4 of these every-18-year sequences occurring every 65 years
Examining the moon’s correlation with the cycle of Mars
A number of interesting events in recent years seem to be marked by a correlation of these month 1 and month 7 lunar eclipses with the cycle of Mars with respect to the two most important normal stars – the primary normal star Regulus, and the secondary normal star Spica. The kind of correlation found is a double or triple conjunction of Mars with Regulus or Spica, with one or more total lunar eclipses at Passover and/or Tabernacles occurring in the same year, or in the preceding or following year. Searching the Astronomical Calendars for all occurrences of similar correlations between lunar eclipses and these cycles of Mars, a very intriguing pattern emerges. It turns out that these total lunar eclipses align with the cycle of Mars every 568 or 521 years. To examine the full set of data from this search, see Lunar Eclipse/Mars Correlation Data
In terms of the 65-year and 18-year cycle lengths described above for lunar eclipses, the 568-year alignment comes from nine 65-year cycles, shifted back by one 18-year cycle, and shifted forward by one year. The 521-year alignment comes from eight 65-year cycles shifted forward by one year:
- (9 x 65) – 18 + 1 = 568
- (8 x 65) + 1 = 521
In terms of the cycle lengths of Mars, 568 years is made up of six 79-year cycles plus two 47-year cycles. 521 years is just 47 years short of this, being six 79-year cycles plus just one 47-year cycle:
- (6 x 79) + (2 x 47) = 568
- (6 x 79) + (1 x 47) = 521
The 57-Jubilee cycle
In a typical sequence of 5 of these cycles, 4 out of 5 will have 568 years as their length while one will have the shortened length of 521 years, giving us a total of 2793 years, or exactly 57 Jubilee periods:
- (4 x 568) + (1 x 521) = 2793
- in lunar cycles: (44 x 65) – (4 x 18) + 5 = 2793
- in Mars cycles: (30 x 79) + (9 x 47) = 2793
This is a fairly stable cycle, meaning that the endpoints occur at similar places in their respective 65-year clusters of eclipses, which as a result allows the cycle to sometimes be repeated a second time, marking a period of 114 Jubilees in length.
The 19-Jubilee cycle
The 57-Jubilee time span is also made up of three 931-year, 19 Jubilee cycles of Mars. Lunar eclipses are found to sometimes align with this 19-Jubilee cycle as well, but not as regularly as with the 57-Jubilee cycle. In terms of the lunar eclipse cycles, the 19-Jubilee cycle comes from fourteen 65-year cycles, shifted forward by one 18-year cycle plus a 3-year shift. And in terms of the Mars cycles, the 19-Jubilee cycle is made up of ten 79-year cycles plus three 47-year cycles:
- in lunar cycles: (14 x 65) + 18 + 3 = 931
- in Mars cycles: (10 x 79) + (3 x 47) = 931
This is not a stable cycle, meaning that it fades quickly, after just one occurrence. This is because it begins near the beginning of a 65-year cluster, and ends near the end of a 65-year cluster.
The 38-Jubilee cycle
Since the 19-Jubilee cycle isn’t stable, just doubling the number of 65-year lunar cycles from 14 to 28 doesn’t give us a meaningful cycle. But adding 2 more lunar cycles gets us there:
- in lunar cycles: (30 x 65) – (5 x 18) + 2 = 1862
- in Mars cycles: (20 x 79) + (6 x 47) = 1862
This cycle begins near the end of a 65-year cluster and ends near the beginning of a 65-year cluster, so like the 19-Jubilee cycle isn’t stable on its own. But when we put together the 19 and 38-year cycles their offsets cancel out, and together they give us the stable 57-Jubilee cycle.
The pattern with respect to Mars/Regulus conjunctions
Here’s an example of the pattern. In each year shown we find a triple or double conjunction of Mars with Regulus marking a set of lunar eclipses – and after 5 of these periods the alignment with the Jubilee cycle wraps back around to the same point at which it began, which in this case is at year 12 of the Jubilee cycle:
|-4286||Year 12 of the current Jubilee cycle||+ 568 yrs =|
|-3718||Year 41 of the current Jubilee cycle||+ 568 yrs =|
|-3150||Year 21 of the current Jubilee cycle||+ 568 yrs =|
|-2582||Year 1 of the current Jubilee cycle||+ 521 yrs =|
|-2061||Year 32 of the current Jubilee cycle||+ 568 yrs =|
|-1493||Year 12 of the current Jubilee cycle|
This sequence of lunar eclipses is particularly interesting because it ends at the time of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. The fall of the year shown, -1493, is when the Mars triple began. Then looking at the data table we see that the two associated eclipses were in the spring and fall of the preceding year, -1494, placing a Passover eclipse in the year 1495 BC. And based on chronological studies currently in process, this is a year which stands as a likely candidate for being the actual year of the Exodus. The span of this table is 2793 years – the previously noted 57-Jubilee cycle.
As we continue forward from the Exodus, we encounter a shift in the Jubilee alignment at the Babylonian exile between the years -925 and -357. If there were no gap in counting, these next two datapoints would be at year 41 and year 21 of the Jubilee cycle just as in the pattern seen above. But to accommodate the 40-year gap, we need to subtract 40 from the second one, year 21. To accomplish this requires first adding 49, giving us 21 + 49 = 70, as an equivalent measure of the point in the pre-exile Jubilee cycle for the year -357. Then the subtraction is easily done, giving us 70 – 40 = year 30 as the point in the post-exile Jubilee cycle.
Notice that every 568 years the point in the Jubilee cycle has been backing up by 20 years, and then the gap in counting at the exile backs it up by 40 years – the same effect as two of those 568-year spans. So when crossing over the Babylonian exile, instead of needing 5 spans, at (4 x 568) + (1 x 521) = 2793 years to return to the same point in the Jubilee cycle, this time it takes only 3 spans, at (2 x 568) + (1 x 521) = 1657 years = 33 Jubilees +40 years:
|-1493||Year 12 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-925||Year 41 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-357||Year 30 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|164||Year 12 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|732||Year 41 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 + 79 yrs =|
|1379||Year 2 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|1947||Year 31 of the current Jubilee period|
So we can see what the table is showing us up through the year 732. The shortened 3-span distance is in play from -1493 to 164, beginning and ending at year 12 of the Jubilee cycle, and from -925 to 732, beginning and ending at year 41 of the Jubilee cycle, since both of these spans begin and end on opposite sides of the Babylonian exile.
But then between the years 732 and 1379 AD a second discontinuity comes in, jumping forward by an additional 79 years, from an old fading series of eclipses to the new series that’s replacing it. In the data table this is the transition from “Mars/Regulus Series 3” to “Mars/Regulus Series 4.” Note that with this transition, we now find the lunar eclipses following rather than preceding the Mars/Regulus conjunctions; and along with this comes an additional 1-year shift forward for the point in the Jubilee cycle of each datapoint. Interestingly, if it weren’t for the additional 1-year shift (which happens only when transitioning from series 3 to 4 of the Mars/Regulus pattern, and from series 2 to 3 of the Mars/Spica pattern), the 79-year transition wouldn’t cause any disruption to the pattern of Jubilee alignments.
Examining the data table for instance, looking at the first well filled-out column of data for each pair of adjacent series’, we find 36-16-45 to be a pattern of successive points in the Jubilee cycle showing continuity through the transition from series 1 to series 2 (with the sequence of numbers resulting from subtracting 20, or an occasional 18, from one point in the Jubilee cycle to get the next). Then we find 12-41-21 for series 2 to 3. And 47-27-9 for series 4 to 5. But backing up now to the transition from series 3 to 4, note the difference here. This time rather than holding steady, the pattern 30-12-41 transitions to the pattern 31-13-42, where 1 year has been added to each point in the Jubilee cycle.
One other thing that a transition from one series to the next does is – just as the gap at the Babylonian exile shortened the number of spans before returning to the same point in the Jubilee cycle from 5 to 3, when the 79 years is added at the transition from one series to the next, this shortens the number of spans needed to 4. And then if it’s that special transition from series 3 to 4, it only almost returns to the same point in the Jubilee cycle in 4 spans. In this case it returns to the starting point +1 year.
So with these understandings we can follow the rest of what the table is showing us from year 732 on. Looking again at the very first table, we see that since year 732 is year 41 of the Jubilee cycle, for the ordinary 5-span cycle we could expect the next two points to be at years 21 and 1 of the Jubilee cycle. But because of the 79-year transition from one series to the next, the first of these two is skipped, leaving us with year 1 as the next candidate. And then because this time we’re making the series 3 to series 4 shift – from the eclipses preceding the Mars conjunctions to the eclipses following the Mars conjunctions, the +1 also applies, making it year 2 rather than year 1.
Then for the last datapoint, since year 2 is equivalent to year 2 + 49 = 51, we just get 51 – 20 = 31. Or another way to track with this is to go back four spans. That was at year 30 of the Jubilee cycle – so applying the rules for the 79-year transition puts the endpoint at year 30 +1, which is what we have.
On first glance the point in the Jubilee cycle doesn’t seem all that meaningful – but what is meaningful is where this is pointing – to another very significant historical date, the 1947/1948 year in which Israel was restored as a nation.
The pattern with respect to Mars/Spica conjunctions
These two patterns both showed lunar eclipses marked by Mars/Regulus conjunctions. What if we similarly investigate lunar eclipses marked by Mars/Spica conjunctions? Here’s an example stretching from the year -4630 to -1837, showing that we get a similar pattern:
|-4630||Year 11 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-4062||Year 40 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-3494||Year 20 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-2926||Year 49 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|-2405||Year 31 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-1837||Year 11 of the current Jubilee period|
The pattern then continues through the Babylonian exile, again showing the shortened 3-span distance as a result:
|-1837||Year 11 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-1269||Year 40 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|-701||Year 20 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|-180||Year 11 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|388||Year 40 of the current Jubilee period|
I don’t see any historical significance for the dates shown in these first two tables of Mars/Spica correlations. The more interesting dates are to be found in a new series that begins to develop in the year -212. After the year 877 it expands into two parallel branches – so we’ll use two separate tables to show the two branches. Note that the second branch succeeds in returning to the same point in the Jubilee cycle at which it began:
|-212||Year 28 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|356||Year 8 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|877||Year 39 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|1398||Year 21 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|1966||Year 1 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|2534||Year 30 of the current Jubilee period|
|-212||Year 28 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|356||Year 8 of the current Jubilee period||+ 521 yrs =|
|877||Year 39 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|1445||Year 19 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|2013||Year 48 of the current Jubilee period||+ 568 yrs =|
|2581||Year 28 of the current Jubilee period|
The interesting dates to be noted here are the 1966/1967 year, a Jubilee year marked by the triple conjunction of Mars with Spica, in which the newly restored nation of Israel gained fuller access to their land and to the city of Jerusalem, and the 2013/2014 year, in which the same astronomical sign is being repeated, but this time more fully and completely, and this time with the last of the eclipses marking the beginning of a Jubilee year.