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The Eclipse

Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gathering Place Forum Index -> Reflections from Jim
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Joined: 06 Apr 2010
Posts: 300

Location: TN

PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject: The Eclipse  Reply with quote

As a kid I avidly read just about anything that I could find. Science has always been intriguing and eclipses were some of the most fascinating astronomical events that ever happened. I can recall watching at least one solar eclipse with my Dad's arc welder goggles. No one else seemed to be interested, so I had them all to myself. (P G or C want to dispute this? My memory is a little Swiss cheezy.)

Therefore reading about the solar system, and eclipses in particular was a treasured opportunity. Our part of the country will be treated to a once in a century (or more) spectacle in a couple of weeks. (August 21, 2017) A total solar eclipse will occur in a band across the country that happens to include my domicile. Whoopee! I hope it is not cloudy.

I have watched one or two eclipses with the "pin-hole" viewer in a box (check the internet for details) a couple of times when welding goggles were not available. Somehow I have known not to use sunglasses, etc. due to incipient eye damage. (Maybe it was reading about guys on LSD staring at the sun until they went partially blind. I recently read that LSD is making a comeback. Dummies, stay away! Didn't the 60's teach us anything? Oh yes, they were not there, and the "old fuddy duddies" are just trying to keep us from having fun. But I digress.)

Another opportunity, the first for a total eclipse for me, and the last, is on the way. That got me to thinking...and reading. Did you know that the entire solar system is essentially on a flat plane? (Pluto, if it is really a planet, is 17 degrees off the plane. The largest diversion of any other planet is Mercury.) See the table reproduced below.*

It is interesting that the planets line up as if placed on a platter. This result is from a purported random process of planetary genesis (if we can use that word), which occurred either simultaneously with the formation of the sun or after it. (Easy choice there. Coach, why did your team play poorly in first half? "Well Angie, we just didn't execute." Do you expect to do better in the second half? "Yes we do, if we are able to execute." Thank you coach for your erudite and insightful comments–to inane questions.)

So whenever the planets formed, and whether they formed at the same time, they all stayed in one plane. Does that strike you as a little peculiar? Or at least interesting? But, the rings of Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus are not parallel to the plane, but at enough of an angle that we can see them from earth. If they were in the solar plane, they would be side ways to us, and probably invisible.

And, most of the moons are also in the plane. A few are out of it, but let's stick to our moon. Just a side note, the earth's spin orientation is essentially perpendicular to the plane. (Twenty-three degrees off.) If we were oriented differently, and the poles pointed at the sun once a year, both would be alternatively melted and frozen. Weather would be radically different in that scenario.

If the moon were out of the plane it would have some severe effects on the planet. But the one thing that is striking is that if the moon were outside the plane, there would not be any eclipses. It has to be in the plane to get between the sun and the earth. It also must be in the plane in order for the earth to get between the sun and the moon, causing a lunar eclipse.

So that is a nice "coincidence," isn't it? Are there any others? Well how about the relative size of the two heavenly orbs? The sun appears to be exactly the same diameter as the moon, but we know them to have radically different dimensions. If not, the moon could not block the sun completely. There would be no "total" eclipses, as the larger sun would shine around the edges of the eclipsing moon. A larger moon could completely block the view of the sun and we would miss some of the spectacular effects that are only visible during a total eclipse. (You have probably read of them or will. So I will not address that.)

Is there any significance to this perfect correlation of sizes? Actually there is. Given the size of both bodies, the distance is very precisely defined by geometry. If the moon were closer to the earth, it would appear larger. But, given its size, its gravitational effects on the earth would be much more pronounced. These changes would disrupt a lot of earth's activities, including even the rotation and the orbital path of the planet. It is at the exactly perfect location to interact with earth as it does, without being disruptive or destructive. Nice.

If the sun were larger or smaller, or we were closer or farther away, we would have the perspective of a larger or smaller solar disk. Guess what. If either of those scenarios were the case, life on this planet would not exist.

If the sun were closer or larger, the additional heat received from the sun would heat the crust and even evaporate the oceans and all water. (Explanation: The sun gives X amount of energy into space in a spherical shape. The earth "blocks" a fraction of that sphere and intercepts the energy, mostly in the form of infrared, visible, and ultraviolet radiation.) If we were closer or the sun larger, the fraction of the sphere that we intersect would be greater, meaning that we would receive more radiation, or heat.

Conversely, if the sun were farther away or smaller, our little "block" of space would be smaller, and the amount of heat that impinges on the planet would be less, effectively lowering the temperature.  It is not even necessary that the mean temperature of the earth drop below the freezing point of water to threaten life. Life can exist at the extremes of the liquid water scale, to some extent, but for life as we know it, the current condition is ideal, and in fact, critical.

So the confluence of planetary plane, orbital distance of the moon, and orbital radius of the earth around the sun are coincidentally optimal for life on the earth. Regardless of how you view creation, an incredible number of "coincidences" are accumulating with regard to the viability of any life, let alone human life on this ball of matter. To continue to deny the almost overwhelming weight of evidence of design begins to impinge on the realm of insanity.

Consider this. Did the Lord give us eclipses to remind us of His creative genius? As you view the coming eclipse, let the burden of proof weigh on your consciousness of the spectacular wonder of this event.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork." (Psalm 19:1) "Handiwork" implies a skillful, deliberate, customary action. He did not fret and worry about how to make it all come out. It was like His hobby.

Enjoy the eclipse.

*The Earth's orbit is the reference plane, known as the ecliptic: 0 degrees inclination. The major planets have inclinations of: Mercury: 7.00 degrees Venus: 3.39 deg Mars: 1.85 deg Jupiter: 1.30 deg Saturn: 2.49 deg Uranus: 0.77 deg Neptune: 1.77 deg Pluto: 17.14 deg.
The Moon's orbital inclination with respect to the ecliptic varies, but it is, on average 5.1 degrees.

I'm Tellin' It Like It Is! ~
Reflections from Jim
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