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Thread: No Moon phases during Solomon's reign

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    No Moon phases during Solomon's reign

    Jewish tradition has King Solomon c.800 BC reigning for 40 years, and that for 20 of those years there was a continuous full Moon i.e. there were no phases.

    My query is: theoretically, what change in the current motion, orbit or position of the Earth and/or Moon, would it take for the Moon as we see it to become phaseless, even temporarily?

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    the moon should stop revolving around the earth and stay at one specific local time
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Jewish tradition has King Solomon c.800 BC reigning for 40 years, and that for 20 of those years there was a continuous full Moon i.e. there were no phases.
    I'd enjoy seeing something on this. How would they know the length of his reign since the New Moon determined the beginning of each month, still active today.

    My query is: theoretically, what change in the current motion, orbit or position of the Earth and/or Moon, would it take for the Moon as we see it to become phaseless, even temporarily?
    I can only imagine it stuck in L2, but no way to imagine how it got there and back.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    What was it doing for the other 20 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel View Post
    What was it doing for the other 20 years?
    Yep, sounds pretty cheesy.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I'd enjoy seeing something on this. How would they know the length of his reign since the New Moon determined the beginning of each month, still active today.

    I can only imagine it stuck in L2, but no way to imagine how it got there and back.
    Or how it would stay there, since the moon’s mass would seem to quickly perturb the balance.

    The only thought I had was that the moon had its own orbit further out than the Earth so that it always presented a full face, allowing for some small phase changes as seen with the outer planets. But it would be impossible for Bronze Age astrologers to see the moon at that distance. And of course the moon would move like a planet.

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    If the moon were in a polar orbit it wouldn’t have phases, but it wouldn’t be full.


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    The Moon's been tidally locked for recorded human history, and the OP does not mention a changing face, so not only would its orbit have to change, but its spin rate (to once per year?).
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Jewish tradition has King Solomon c.800 BC reigning for 40 years, and that for 20 of those years there was a continuous full Moon i.e. there were no phases.

    My query is: theoretically, what change in the current motion, orbit or position of the Earth and/or Moon, would it take for the Moon as we see it to become phaseless, even temporarily?
    I had never heard of this one. Do you have a book, chapter and verse for reference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tusenfem View Post
    the moon should stop revolving around the earth and stay at one specific local time
    Hey. Let's not box ourselves in to one solution.

    The Moon would cease to have phases if, instead, the Earth revolved around the sun in just 29 days. The Moon could then continue to go around it every 29 days, yet the Earth would always see the same phase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Hey. Let's not box ourselves in to one solution.

    The Moon would cease to have phases if, instead, the Earth revolved around the sun in just 29 days. The Moon could then continue to go around it every 29 days, yet the Earth would always see the same phase.
    That does not eliminate the problem of how to make it happen. I know of no naturally occurring action that could shift the bodies into that configuration, leave it that way for 20 years, and then shift them into the present state.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    That does not eliminate the problem of how to make it happen. I know of no naturally occurring action that could shift the bodies into that configuration, leave it that way for 20 years, and then shift them into the present state.
    Very precise, repeated collisions with other bodies

    And maybe a bunch more if it starts to drift out of the Lagrange point

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    That does not eliminate the problem of how to make it happen.
    Well of course.

    The OP has yet to ask how any of this could happen.

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    A close passing of Nibiru was mistaken for a full moon on moonless nights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    A close passing of Nibiru was mistaken for a full moon on moonless nights.
    Let's try to keep this on point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I'd enjoy seeing something on this. How would they know the length of his reign since the New Moon determined the beginning of each month, still active today.

    I can only imagine it stuck in L2, but no way to imagine how it got there and back.
    They would still have the annual solar cycle for counting years. They just would not have the lunar cycle for reckoning the monthly features of their calendar.

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    Actually, given the OP’s track record, I suspect this may be simply a misunderstanding. Can any one substantiate that there is such a tradition? I’ve googled but to no avail. Surely there must be members here who are Jewish and can attest to whether there is in fact such a tradition.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Actually, given the OP’s track record, I suspect this may be simply a misunderstanding. Can any one substantiate that there is such a tradition? I’ve googled but to no avail. Surely there must be members here who are Jewish and can attest to whether there is in fact such a tradition.
    The only thing I have seen is something about a lunar-solar calendar of the period that (I think, if I understood it correctly) was synchronised to the new moon to determine the start of the year, but otherwise the new moon was not noted as a significant event as in true lunar calendars. This could lead to a belief that that the phase didn't change, I suppose.

    Or, if the only recorded information about the moon was the new moon each month, that could also lead to an assumption that it was always full.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Hey. Let's not box ourselves in to one solution.

    The Moon would cease to have phases if, instead, the Earth revolved around the sun in just 29 days. The Moon could then continue to go around it every 29 days, yet the Earth would always see the same phase.
    In a thought exercise where the reputed change is possible, I would leave the Earth where it is and put the Moon at L2. That would have no immediate adverse effect on our climate. Putting the Earth into a 29-day orbit would scorch it.

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    How about a really bright volcano erupting on the other side of the earth, making the full disk of the moon dimly visible for part of each night when it's low in the sky. The "always full" and "twenty years" parts are exaggerations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    How about a really bright volcano erupting on the other side of the earth, making the full disk of the moon dimly visible for part of each night when it's low in the sky. The "always full" and "twenty years" parts are exaggerations.
    Not likely. Even the bright side of Earth does little to illuminate the Moon.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Thinking of Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Thinking of Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven ...
    Or The Moon's a Balloon by David Niven.....



    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Can any one substantiate that there is such a tradition? I’ve googled but to no avail.
    One source for the Solomonic full Moon is the Midrash Exodus 15, and several in the Zohar, and the commentaries thereon, if you search on the subject in
    Hebrew
    or Aramaic
    Last edited by wd40; 2019-Sep-22 at 12:56 PM.

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    So, following the lead of looking in the midrashim, I was able to find this reference in the Jewish Encyclopedia, a reference from 1906.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jewish Encyclopedia
    On account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly glorious reign (comp. I Kings iii. 13, v. 1 et seq.). His realm is described by the Rabbis as having extended, before his fall (see below), over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants,including all the beasts, fowls, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits. His reign was then so glorious that the moon never decreased, and good prevailed over evil. His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowls of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him. Extravagant meals for him (comp. I Kings iv. 22-23) were prepared daily by each of his thousand wives, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast on that day in her house (Meg. 11b; Sanh. 20b; B. M. 86b; Gen. R. xxxiv. 17; Cant. R. l.c.; Eccl. R. ii. 5; Targ. Sheni l.c.).
    (my bold above) So there is a reference, but I've never heard of this before, so it seems unlikely that it's a widespread belief in the Jewish community.
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    Once again we can have two science-related approaches to this account.

    1. Reject the literal fundamentalist interpretation and regard that lunar detail as part of a myth.

    2. Believe in the fundamentalist interpretation and invoke a principle of divine intervention that is beyond the scope of science to test, analogous to the "divine hoax" idea of faking geological evidence to make it look older.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Once again we can have two science-related approaches to this account.

    1. Reject the literal fundamentalist interpretation and regard that lunar detail as part of a myth.
    I would assume that the reference to the moon is intended purely poetically as an indication of the greatness of the king. This sort of metaphorical language was very common when talking about the great and powerful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I had never heard of this one. Do you have a book, chapter and verse for reference?
    I also would be curious to hear where the OP heard this was Jewish tradition. I do not think it is mentioned in the Christian Bible, and I'm not seeing anything relevant on Google.

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    If the Moon were at the L2 point it would be motionless and full, but also about 4 times further away, so it would appear much smaller. This doesn't fit very well with the idea that the Moon did not 'decrease' during this period.
    Last edited by eburacum45; 2019-Sep-24 at 08:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    If the Moon were at the L2 point it would be motionless and full, but also about 4 times further away, so it would appear much smaller. This doesn't fit very well with the idea that the Moon did not 'decrease' during this period.
    So it must have slowed its orbit to 365 days instead of 29 days.

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    Sort of. The orbital period of the Moon around the Sun in such a case would be exactly the same as the orbital period of the Earth around the Sun. And the Moon would travel around the Earth once in that period. But L2 is unstable, so it would drift out of that location in due course.

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