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Registered: ‎11-08-2014

FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

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On June 18, 1178, five monks in Canterbury, England were gazing at the heavens and reported a phenomenon to their monastery's chronicler, Gervase.  What he faithfully recorded is believed by scientists to be an account of the formation of the fourteen mile Giordano Bruno crater on the moon!

 

Unfortunately, the Q system wouldn't let me quote his riveting account from Wikipedia, but if you go there and type in Giordano Bruno (crater), you should get the whole article.

 

How fascinating is this!   I asked hubby if this could happen in modern times, and he said yes, but not as often, or as likely now.  Apparently meteors don't hit the moon with as much frequency as in past eras, it seems.

 

Such a huge crater seems more like a valley to me.  The crater was named after an Italian mathematician, friar, philosopher and poet, Giordano Bruno.  He sounds like a total Renaissance man, even before the Renaissance...

 

The dazzled monks told Gervase that the moon appeared to "throb like a wounded snake".   How exciting that they witnessed this celestial event.  So, on June 18, look up at night and think of those monks...

 

 

Honored Contributor
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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

Oh, my mistake.  On doing further reading, I discovered that Giordano Bruno was INDEED a Renaissance man-- he wasn't born until 1548.   I was just assuming he was of the same vintage as those monks from 1178!

 

But whats a few centuries among friends....

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

And here's an actual image of the crater from the Planetary Society:

 

 

http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/earth/20140317_moon_lro_bruno.html

 

LIke all lunar images, it appears so cool, so removed.  I expected it to have more roiling furrows, and jagged edges, testament to its violent, cataclysmic origins, at least!

 

But there it is, and there it's been, since another June 18 in 1178.

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

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It's on the far side of the moon! How did he know it was there???!!!

 

eta - Oh, they just witnessed the shaking of the moon when it got hit by the meteor that caused the crater back then. Got it.

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

According to nasa.gov, what "those five ancient sky-watchers might have seen [was] the fiery display of such a meteor traveling along their line of sight rather than an impact on the moon."

 

It wouldn't have been the impact on the moon because such an impact would have caused a week-long meteor storm.  That didn't happen.  The reason only five people saw it was apparently because they were directly in the line of sight of the meteor moving toward Earth.

 

A writhing moon would be unforgettable, no matter what the cause.

 

https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast26apr_1

Love to be home . . . thus the screen name. Joined 2003.
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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

@SilleeMee, I love that phrase-- "the far side of the moon"!

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

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@Homegirl, I did read that there were scientists who questioned the exact nature of what they saw.  You're right, though, whether pre-impact, impact or aftermath, a fantastic sight for those medieval men!   How lucky that they had a scribe among them, Gervase, that could record it for history.

 

I'm obsessed with the Middle Ages, and anything that relates to the lives of people then is a source of deep fascination...

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

I'll be looking up tonight, @Oznell !

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Re: FIVE CANTERBURY MONKS SAW THE MOON "WRITHE" ON JUNE 18

Thanks @Oznell for the usual fascinating piece of info...made me look up Giordano Bruno who was such a fascinating person......burnt upside down at the stake during the inquisition..