View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Zodiac shift

We all heard about the shifted zodiac signs? Well, you may be interested (or not) to hear that the Pole Star at the time of the Pyramids was called Kochab, a minor star in the constellation of Ursa Minor. And even longer ago, it was Vega, the primary star in Lyra.

What happens is that the Earth wobbles around its axis in a cycle of about 23,000 years. This means that the axis will veer round over that period of time to point at a different part of the sky. In other words, there will be a different North Star over the millennia, see image below.

Apart from this perhaps obscure aspect of astronomy, it has had the astrologers in a tizz in recent times. Since the signs of the Zodiac were defined, the above described phenomenon has moved the apparent star signs round by one position. And someone has also ordained that there is now a 13th star sign, Ophiuchus (the Snake Bearer), which can be found near Scorpio. The sun moves into each star sign a month later than in the distant past. Fortunately, someone else has ordained that nothing has changed, so you can stick to your original star sign in your horrorscope, and your future has not changed.

If you Google about "Zodiac shift" you'll find some articles written in atrocious English. 

Wednesday 19 January

Another acceptable January day in the Western Isles, with some sunshine about. It's not warm and there is a bit of a breeze blowing. But dress up well, and there is little to complain about. I spent a little while in the library, looking up some information on 19th century residents of the village of Leurbost, some 8 miles south of Stornoway. There is one more look-up pending, this time for 18th century residents of Cromore, which lies 12 miles south of Stornoway by sea but 30 miles by road.

Separate from that, I am going to compile a map of places where Lewis servicemen lie buried who gave their life in WW1 and WW2. I was pointed to a similar map of casualties from Portsmouth.

Last week, my father told me about a problem in his town by email. Last night, I received a text from him, suggesting that the problem had surfaced again. His puzzled response led me to the conclusion that the problem had only occurred once, and that his text message had taken FIVE DAYS to reach me.