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17 Sep

Byzantine solar eclipse records illuminate obscure history of Earth’s rotation

Witnessing a total solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience and may have been even more impressive throughout history before we were able to understand and accurately predict their occurrence. But the historical records of these remarkable astronomical spectacles are more than mere curiosities -- they provide invaluable information on changes in the Earth's movement. In a new study in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Japanese researchers combed through records from the Byzantine Empire to identify and locate total solar eclipses observed around the Eastern Mediterranean in the 4th-7th centuries CE, a period for which previously identified solar eclipse records are particularly scarce. These records are crucial for understanding the variability of the Earth's rotation throughout history. However, because the people...
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