Friday, May 25, 2012


A MYSTERIOUS Ancient Egyptian papyrus with mystical occult listings of "lucky" and "unlucky" days has provided a team of modern astronomers with proof that star-gazers 3,000 years ago were aware of the periodicity of binary variable stars.

A report on studies of the "Demon star" Algol by a research group from the University of Helsinki, Finland, stunned the astronomical community this week by indicating that the Ancient Egyptians had calculated the periodicity of Algo.
The Emperor Hadrian is known to have been fascinated by astronomy and astrology and even cast his own astrological charts.  Antinous and Hadrian visited Egypt and conferred with magician/priests. After the tragic death of Antinous, Hadrian discovered a new star, THE STAR OF ANTINOUS.

Thus, it is highly possible that the Emperor was aware of this famous text because it was recorded on many papyrus scrolls, several of which are in museums around the world.

This ancient text, which was so important that it was recorded on so many scrolls, is known as THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF DAYS

The Finnish scholars studied one such papyrus, the Egyptian papyrus "Cairo Calendar 86637," parts of which are in the British and Cairo Museums. This astrological calendar is probably the oldest preserved historical document of bare eye observations of a , the Finnish astronomers said. Egyptologists have been baffled by the papyrus and its inscrutable calculations. 

In this calendar, each day of the Egyptian year was divided into three aspects, each ruled by a stellar deity. A favorable or unfavorable quality was assigned to each of the three divine aspects of a day. Two "lucky" aspects made a day "mostly lucky" while two "unlucky" aspects made it "mostly unlucky." Three "lucky" or "unlucky" aspects on any given day gave a clear astrological prediction either way.

Until now, it was wholly unclear how the Ancient Egyptian priest/astronomers arrived at their conclusions. The Finnish astronomers are convinced the prognostications were based on mathematical calculations of stellar brightness, among other things.

"The texts regarding the prognoses are connected to mythological and astronomical events," says Professor Sebastian Porceddu of Helsinki University.

"A modern period analysis revealed that two statistically significant periods of 29.6 and 2.850 days have been recorded into the good prognoses. The former is clearly the period of the Moon. The second period differs slightly from the period Algol. In this eclipsing binary, the dimmer star partially covers the brighter star with a period of 2.867 days," he wrote.

"These eclipses last about ten hours and they can be easily observed with bare eyes. Their period was discovered by Goodricke in the year 1783," says docent Lauri Jetsu.

"We can explain why the period of Algol has increased by about 0.017 days," Jetsu adds. "The period increase during the past three millennia could have been caused by the observed mass transfer between the two members of this binary. In fact, this would be the first observation that confirms the period increase of Algol and it also gives an estimate of the mass transfer rate."

In conclusion, the Finnish experts wrote: "The Ancient Egyptians made accurate measurements that provide useful constraints for modern astronomers."

"It seems that the first observation of a variable star was made 3,000 years earlier than was previously thought," says Dr. Jetsu. "However, I want to emphasize that our research has only been sent to a scientific journal about two weeks ago. This type of results can raise a lot of controversy before they are accepted."

The research was made in collaboration by the researchers from the Department of Physics and the Department of World Cultures of the University of Helsinki. It has been published electronically in the arXiv. The Egyptological part of the research will be published separately.

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