Ron Kean (
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 01:56:05 -0400

On Thu, 19 Aug 1999 06:01:54 -0400 "James Daugherty" <> writes:
> This post caught my eye on the net some time ago. Can anyone
> refute any> of these co-incidences or point to possible theories
explaining them > as> necessary consequences of various physical laws?

Yes, I think I can refute most of them, at least up to a point.

> Weird Coincidences
> ------------------
> During a full eclipse, the disc of the moon is EXACTLY the same
> size as the disc of the Sun. This means that it PERFECTLY
> covers the Sun, no more no less.
> What are the odds I ask you, what are the odds.

Actually, it's not true that the two disks are exactly the same apparent size. The apparent size of the Sun's disk varies from a max of 32.6 arc minutes on January 1 to a min of 31.6 arc minutes on July 4. Now there's a coincidence - the max and min days are New Year's Day and the US Independence Day, respectively. But of course any day of the year would have some significance - Elvis's birthday, for example. The Moon's apparent size varies from about 33.4 arc minutes diameter to about 29.4 arc minutes diameter. There is a slight additional variation (called augmentation) which is caused by where one stands on the Earth when observing the Moon, and is calibrated relative to the Moon's altitude angle. So total solar eclipses vary in duration depending on how 'big' the Moon is relative to the Sun, and how 'central' the eclipse is. Some solar eclipses are 'annular', meaning the Moon can't quite cover the Sun at maximum centrality. Also, the Moon is slowly being pushed away from the Earth by the Earth's rotation. It's getting 'smaller' and one day we will no longer have total solar eclipses (assuming the Sun stays the same 'size').

> Our Moon's period of rotation is EXACTLY equal to its period of
> revolution around the earth. This means that its day is equal
> to its year, which in turn means that we ALWAYS see the same
> face of the moon, and always have.
> To us the moon appears NOT to be spinning at all.
> Again what are the odds, I ask you, what are the odds.
> If the moon's day was shorter or longer than its year, we would
> have long ago discovered that it is spinning because the surface
> we saw would change over time, but since relative to us it does
> not spin, we could never tell it was a rotating object at all.
> Who knows what common man would have known sooner if it had not
> been for this incredible coincidence.

It is not surprising at all that the Moon's rotation is locked to its Earth orbit period. The Earth's tidal force is strong enough to make that happen. The tidal force stretches the Moon out, like pulling taffy, along the line connecting the Earth and Moon. The Moon rocks back and forth (called libration) like a pendulum, just as a free but unbalanced bicycle wheel rotates back and forth and settles with the most weight at the bottom. Most satellites tend to do that, unless they are perfectly symmetrical. Over time we see more than 50% of the Moon's surface (about 55%, I think).

> One more that comes to mind: The Symbol of the 2 ENTWINED
> SNAKES has long symbolized MEDINCE or the HEALING ARTS. Well
> two entwined snakes also just happen to look EXACTLY like the
> DOUBLE HELIX of a Strand of DNA.

The Caduceus is an old Greek symbol, I think, and its history may provide a more prosaic reason for it having been chosen. I don't know enough about its history to refute the DNA conjecture of its origin, but it would be reckless to choose such an explanation without looking for the historical one. Perhaps it has something to do with the old practice of treatment by drawing blood, or perhaps it has some reference to poison. Look it up and see.

> Are all these just COINCIDENCES ???? or does this mean this
> knowledge has long existed only to be rediscovered or UNHIDDEN
> recently ?
> Did the Creator of our Solar System make the moon sun and
> earth at the right distances and periods of rotation so that
> the above mentioned facts would occur ? Just because the
> Creator could ??? [God or Virtual Reality Designer or
> Terra Forming Galactic Civilization???]

I can't prove or disprove those conjectures.

> Also did you know that the word MONTH comes from the word MOON,

Yes, and that's not news considering that the month, historically, was taken to be a lunar phase cycle (called a lunation). The two words in English even sound similar. It's not a coincidence. Our modern 'months' in the Gregorian calendar are only loosely based on the lunar month concept, as the Gregorian calendar we use is a solar calendar, not a lunar calendar. The concept of month in the Gregorian calendar was consciously bastardized to fit the solar (tropical) year. The Gregorian calendar was promulgated in 1582 under Pope Gregory, and was a refinement of the Julian calendar (imposed by Julius Caesar of the Roman Empire). The Gregorian calendar was not adopted in England until 1752, nor in Russia until 1917. The Julian calendar was in turn a reform of an earlier Roman calendar. The historical background of these calendars is available from standard reference works.

> and that a lunar cycle is 28 days long [same as a womans
> menstrual cycle and high tides]

High tides on the open ocean (like the middle of the Pacific) normally occur twice a day, but due to complicated interactions of water masses with land masses, tides in general follow quite varied schedules. A lunar phase cycle is most definitely not exactly 28 days long. The lunation varies in duration, but its average duration is 29.503 days. The relation to the duration of the typical woman's menstrual cycle to the duration of the lunar phase cycle may well have an evolutionary basis; I just don't know. But the typical woman's menstrual cycle only roughly matches the duration of the lunation, and does not match the lunation phase, either from woman to woman, nor for (almost) any woman over a time of several months or years.

and that 13 lunar months, or
> 13x28days is EXACTLY EQUAL to 364 DAYS AND VERY close to a
> year??

So what? The solar tropical year is 365.2422 mean solar days in length. It has to be _some_ number of mean solar days in length, within its normal variability. Since the 'so-called exact' 28 day lunation figure is wrong anyway, let's use the correct number, 29.503 days, and divide it into the correct number for the length of the year, 365.2422 days. We get 12.379832 months per year. Not a very round number, eh? That's why we have lots of 30 day and 31 day months in the 12 month Gregorian calendar, even though the lunar month averages only 29.503 days.

The question then becomes why on earth don't we use
> thirteen 28 day months instead 12 weird length months !!!!!! 13
> is very close to 12 and 13 equal length months, that are even
> delineated by full moons, would be too simple for the commoners
> to understand, maybe that is why they hosed with the calender,
> who knows !
> Your comments/insights/explanations invited:
> ***********************************
> Lloyd Miller,

Thousands of years ago, commoners (and kings) used to count time by days (solar days), months (lunar months), and years (solar years). It's quite natural, and they were quite happy with it. But those three systems of time measurement are all somewhat incompatible with one another, in the sense that they are not related by simple ratios of whole numbers, much as we might wish they were. So for crude purposes the old ad hoc system was fine, since the appropriate method of counting (days, months, or years) was used depending on the time scale being discussed.

There are many calendars in current use, and more that were used historically. The Muslim calendar, for example, uses strictly lunar months, the month being reset whenever the new moon is sighted. So since the lunar month averages 29.503 days, the Muslim months are either 29 or 30 days, averaging just about 29.5 days, and the Muslim year is 12 months or 354 days. The Muslim year is shorter than the solar year, so the Muslim months slide along relative to the solar seasons. But that is not surprising considering that the solar seasons are not very pronounced in Arabia, where Islam originated.

The Jewish calendar is solar for years and lunar for months, an adjustment being made once a year to reconcile the two. Details are available from any good encyclopedic reference work.

Ron Kean




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