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The earliest known solar eclipse record redated

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Abstract

AN astronomical event recorded on a clay tablet found in 1948 among the ruins of the ancient city of Ugarit, in what is now Syria, was identified 20 years ago as a description of a total solar eclipse that occurred on 3 May 1375 BC1,2. The dating of ancient solar eclipses provides reference points to fix the long-term evolution of angular momentum in the Earth-Moon system3. We have reanalysed the Ugarit eclipse record4. A new historical dating of the tablet, and mention in the text of the visibility of the planet Mars during the eclipse as well as the month in which it occurred enables us to show that the recorded eclipse in fact occurred on 5 March 1223 BC. This new date implies that the secular deceleration of the Earth's rotation has changed very little during the past 3,000 years.
... In 18 th Century, German Philosopher Kant had suggested the theory of retardation of Earth's spin based on the ancient records of Solar Eclipses [Stephenson 1986, Stephenson 2003. Similar kind of studies had been carried out by Kevin Pang at Jet propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena [Morrison 1978, Jong & Soldt 1989. He happened to step upon certain ancient records regarding Solar Eclipses. ...
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... For example, the oldest recorded solar eclipse dates back to 1223 BC (de Jong & van Soldt 1989) and it is known that by the eighth century BC Babylonian astronomers were keeping detailed records of eclipses. Later the invention of the telescope in 1608 AD allowed researchers such as Thomas Harriot and Galileo Galilei to study sunspots, dark regions on the surface of the Sun with intense magnetic fields and suppressed temperatures. ...
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... In 18th Century, German Philosopher Kant had suggested the theory of retardation of Earth's spin based on the ancient records of Solar Eclipses (Stephenson 1986(Stephenson , 2003. Similar kind of studies have been carried out by Kevin Pang at Jet propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena (Morrison 1978;Jong and Soldt 1989). He happened to step upon certain ancient records regarding Solar Eclipses. ...
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The prospect of combining integral field spectroscopy with the solar gravitational lens (SGL) to spectrally and spatially resolve the surfaces and atmospheres of extrasolar planets is investigated. The properties of hyperbolic orbits visiting the focal region of the SGL are calculated analytically, demonstrating trade offs between departure velocity and time of arrival, as well as gravity assist maneuvers and heliocentric angular velocity. Numerical integration of the solar barycentric motion demonstrates that navigational acceleration of $\textrm{d}v \lesssim 80 \frac{\textrm{m}}{\textrm{s}} + 6.7 \frac{\textrm{m}}{\textrm{s}} \frac{t}{\textrm{year}}$ is needed to obtain and maintain alignment. Obtaining target ephemerides of sufficient precision is an open problem. The optical properties of an oblate gravitational lens are reviewed, including calculations of the magnification and the point-spread function that forms inside a telescope. Image formation for extended, incoherent sources is discussed when the projected image is smaller than, approximately equal to, and larger than the critical caustic. Sources of contamination which limit observational SNR are considered in detail, including the sun, the solar corona, the host star, and potential background objects. A noise mitigation strategy of spectrally and spatially separating the light using integral field spectroscopy is emphasized. A pseudoinverse-based image reconstruction scheme demonstrates that direct reconstruction of an Earth-like source from \textit{single} measurements of the Einstein ring is possible when the critical caustic and observed SNR are sufficiently large. In this arrangement, a mission would not require multiple telescopes or navigational symmetry breaking, enabling continuous monitoring of the atmospheric composition and dynamics on other planets.
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Thesis
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Chapter
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In spite of arguments about the astronomical interpretation of ancient eclipse records, one thing is certain - the more that can be found, the more useful they will be.
A total eclipse of the sun is rare enough in any one place and spectacular enough to leave a profound impression on those who observe it. From very early times it was regarded as a portent of disaster and carefully recorded. Advances in the field of geophysics, together with the advent of the high-speed computer, have made it possible to compute early solar eclipses with a new degree of precision, and we may now expect to find a significant correlation between literary and astronomical evidence for solar eclipses in areas where a sufficiently representative bloc of literature has survived. The region around Has Shamra (ancient Ugarit) is one such area, and it was decided to compute the principal solar eclipses visible there during the period covered by the Ugaritic texts (c. 1450–1200 b.c.), and scan the texts for possible references.