King David's Altar in Jerusalem Dated by the Bright Appearance of Comet Encke in 964 BC

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Göran Henriksson

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Published: 5 March 2018 | Article Type :


At the time corresponding to our end of May and beginning of June in 964 BC a bright comet with a very long tail dominated the night sky of the northern hemisphere. It was Comet Encke that was very bright during the Bronze Age, but today it is scarcely visible to the naked eye. It first appeared as a small comet close to the zenith, but for every night it became greater and brighter and moved slowly to the north with its tail pointing southwards. In the first week of June the tail was stretched out across the whole sky and at midnight it was visible close to the meridian. In this paper the author wishes to test the hypothesis that this appearance of Comet Encke corresponds to the motion in the sky above Jerusalem of “the sword of the Angel of the Lord”, mentioned in 1 Chronicles, in the Old Testament. Encke was first circumpolar and finally set at the northern horizon on 8 June in 964 BC at 22. This happened according to the historical chronology between 965 and 960 BC. The calculations of the orbit of Comet Encke have been performed by a computer program developed by the author. It has been calibrated from depictions on Swedish rock-carvings, Chinese texts and Sumerian cylinder seals and gives useful results at least back to 2654 BC.

Keywords: Comet Encke, orbit integration, non-gravitational forces, David’s Altar, sword of the Angel of the Lord, Swedish rock-carvings, Chinese texts, Old Testament.

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Göran Henriksson. (2018-03-05). "King David's Altar in Jerusalem Dated by the Bright Appearance of Comet Encke in 964 BC." *Volume 1*, 1, 30-37