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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Wobbling Earth

18 April 2016


There is a most interesting area in Science where astrology, astronomy and climate change meet. The Earth may feel like a stable tennis ball but actually behaves like a spinning top without us noticing. The Earth’s spinning cycle is 25,920 years. That astronomical cycle (a.k.a. (axial) precession) covers 12 Astrological Ages of 2160 years each (and similar to our 12 Zodiac signs), and some scientists refer to our Earth’s wobble as the “Pacemaker of the Ice Ages” (Science, 1976).

Many people will have heard of the astrological Age of Aquarius following the hit songs from the 1967 musical Hair and the 1979 movie of the same name: Aquarius, Hair, Hare-Krishna, I got lifeGood morning starshineLet the sunshine in or Three-Five-Zero-Zero. The Age of Aquarius is supposed to bring “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding” (see lyrics below).

Currently, we live in the astrological Age of Pisces or “The Age of Monotheism, Spirituality, and the Fish”. Wiki: “The age of Pisces began c. 1 AD and will end c. 2150 AD. With the story of the birth of Christ coinciding with this date, many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fishes. Jesus bears many of the temperaments and personality traits of a Pisces, and is thus considered an archetype of the Piscean. Moreover, the twelve apostles were called the “fishers of men,” early Christians called themselves “little fishes,” and a code word for Jesus was the Greek word for fish, “Ikhthus.” With this, the start of the age, or the “Great Month of Pisces” is regarded as the beginning of the Christian religion”.

There is still quite some debate about the exact dates of the astrological Ages. Some claim that the Age of Pisces ended on 21 December 2012 which date represents the 2012 Cosmic Alignmentand also the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (eg, Mayan calendar). The transfer between astrological Ages often creates fear (eg, end of the world).

To some extent, this fear might be genuine as climate change indeed relates to the Earth’s wobble. Two out of the eight known causes for climate change (see my blog of 9 May 2015) deal with the Earth’s wobble. The 1976 Science article mentions several wobbling cycles: “23,000, 42,000, and approximately 100,000 years”. In the 1920s, the Serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milankovitch already theorized that variations in eccentricityaxial tilt, and precession of the Earth’s orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth through orbital forcing. (Wiki)

Actually, I would not be surprised if the Earth’s wobble is the “tipping point” for all 8 known causes for climate change. Interestingly, the direction and speed of the Earth’s wobble has changed quite recently: “Around the year 2000, Earth’s spin axis took an abrupt turn toward the east and is now drifting almost twice as fast as before, at a rate of almost 7 inches (17 centimeters) a year.” Remarkably, “Changes in polar ice appeared to have no relationship to the wobble — only changes in water on land. The researchers say it’s because the spin axis is very sensitive to changes occurring around 45 degrees latitude, both north and south”. (NASA, 8 April 2016)

This Earth’s wobble and the resulting drifting could explain why the North Pole and Antarctica once had a subtropical climate (eg, BBC, BBC). Based on an annual 17 centimeters it would only take 17,500 years to complete a drift of 3,000 km. Science: “Ice in Antarctica suddenly appeared [] about 35 million years ago. For the previous 100 million years the continent had been essentially ice-free. Even after Antarctica had drifted to near its present location, its climate remained subtropical but then, 35.5 million years ago, ice formed on Antarctica in only about 100,000 years, which is an “overnight” shift in geological terms”.

Being a Pisces (March) in the astrological Age of Pisces (1-2150) makes me feel special. Yet, the Earth is desperately waiting for the Age of Aquarius and its “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding”.

Hair – Age of Aquarius (1967) – lyrics, movie, musical

When the moon is in the seventh house

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets

And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius

The age of Aquarius, Aquarius

Harmony and understanding

Sympathy and trust abounding

No more falsehoods or derisions

Golden living dreams of visions

Mystic crystal revelation

And the mind’s true liberation


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