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    Re: Dating Caesar's first incursion to Britain
    From: Chuck Taylor
    Date: 2008 Jul 8, 12:24 -0700

    George and others,
    
    There are some additional details in the "newsblog" on the Sky and Telescope web site:
    
    
    
    
    ----- Original Message ----
    > From: George Huxtable 
    > To: NavList@fer3.com
    > Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 8:58:07 AM
    > Subject: [NavList 5740] Dating Caesar's first incursion to Britain
    >
    >
    >
    > The following message, taken from the Hastro-L (history of astronomy)
    > mailing list, through a roundabout route, may appeal to those Navlist
    > members who have recently had enough of celestial navigation.
    >
    > This one  relates mainly to tidal matters in navigation (so is indirectly,
    > celestial also). It appeareed a week or so ago
    >
    > You need to look at the press release and blog, referred to near the end, to
    > make much sense of it, but that may be worth doing, if you are interested in
    > such things.
    >
    > From the information available to me to date, I am not very impressed by the
    > researchers'  methodology, but that may be unfair, because I haven't read
    > the actual article in the August Sky & Telescope, which is probably
    > available in the US by now. All I have to go on as yet are those web pages.
    >
    > Which leads me to a request. If some Navlist member reads Sky & Telescope,
    > and has access to that August issue, I wonder if he would kindly take a look
    > at it, and let me know the actual dates and times of those August 2007
    > observations that were made at Deal and at Dover. I'm not asking for a scan
    > of the pages (though wouldn't mind getting one....).
    >
    > Here follows the forwarded message. Sorry it's going to be a bit chopped-up.
    >
    > George.
    >
    > contact George Huxtable at george@huxtable.u-net.com
    > or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    > or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    >
    > ===========================================
    >
    > THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM SKY & TELESCOPE MAGAZINE, IN
    > CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, AND IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.
    > (FORWARDING DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL
    > SOCIETY.)  Steve Maran, American Astronomical Society
    > steve.maran@aas.org  1-202-328-2010 x116
    >
    > Astronomers Re-Date Caesar's Invasion of Britain
    >
    > June 30, 2008
    >
    > Contacts:
    > Donald W. Olson, Department of Physics, Texas State University
    >      1-512-245-2131 , dolson@txstate.edu
    > Roger W. Sinnott, Senior Editor, Sky & Telescope
    >     1-617-864-7360 x2146, rsinnott@skyandtelescope.com
    >
    > Researchers from Texas State University have revised the date when
    > Julius Caesar
    > invaded Britain in 55 BC, a transformational event in world history. Despite
    > what most history books state, Caesar could not have landed on August 26-27.
    > "The English Channel was flowing the wrong way," says team leader Donald W.
    > Olson, a tide expert. He and fellow professor Russell Doescher, aided by
    > astronomy honors students Kellie Beicker and Amanda Gregory, reached this
    > conclusion during an expedition to England's southern coast last summer.
    > Earlier, Olson had identified August 2007 as rare opportunity to settle the
    > longstanding dispute among history scholars and scientists concerning
    > Caesar's
    > landing. During that month, complex tidal factors involving the Moon and Sun
    > would unfold in a near-perfect replay of those in August of 55 BC.
    > "We realized we could go out in a boat and observe the current for
    > ourselves,"
    > Olson explains. "The year 1901 would have been just as good for this
    > experiment, but no one noticed."
    >
    > According to Olson's team, Caesar's invasion fleet must have arrived four
    > days
    > earlier - August 22-23 in 55 BC - to have acquired a suitable northeastward
    > current. The revised date reconciles an ancient record of a "falling
    > tide" with
    > Caesar's own description of the coastline topography as he moved his
    > fleet along
    > the white cliffs of Dover. The Texas researchers present their findings in
    > the August 2008 Sky & Telescope magazine.
    >
    > Invasion Fleet Crosses the Channel
    > When his 100 warships carrying two Roman legions (perhaps 10,000 men)
    > approached
    > the white cliffs, Caesar noticed a multitude of javelin-wielding
    > Celtic warriors
    > lined up along the ridge and decided to look for a better landing spot. He
    > ordered his fleet to move along the coast, and after about seven
    > miles they came to "an open and flat shore."
    >
    > But which way did Caesar turn - left or right - and when did he actually set
    > foot on British soil? For centuries, these two questions have vexed not only
    > historians, but the residents of coastal towns vying for the claim of
    > "Caesar was here."
    >
    > Caesar mentioned unexpectedly strong tides, a full Moon, and an ocean
    > current
    > that changed direction in mid-afternoon. These clues even led famous
    > astronomers
    > Edmond Halley and George Airy to weigh in - but they disagreed with
    > each other's
    > conclusions. The debate about the date and place of Caesar's landing has
    > raged ever since.
    >
    > The Texas team's revised date, August 22-23, gives Caesar the ocean current
    > he
    > needed to maneuver right, proceed seven miles, and land with a
    > falling tide near
    > present-day Deal. That's the beach preferred by most historians but
    > rejected by
    > tide experts in the past. What's more, a modified reading of Caesar's
    > reference
    > to the "night of a full Moon" also leads to the August 22-23 date.
    >
    > "The scientists were right about the tidal streams," Olson says, "and so
    > were
    > the historians about the landing site. With our new result and our new date,
    > everything is reconciled."
    >
    > "I had a blast watching these guys in action," says Sky & Telescope Senior
    > Editor Roger Sinnott, who joined the Texas State expedition last summer.
    > "One
    > day they were using GPS to measure their small boat's drift off Dover
    > harbor,
    > and on another they were tossing apples from the end of the long Deal pier
    > to
    > see which way the current went." Sinnott has been Olson's editor on two
    > dozen
    > past projects for Sky & Telescope since 1987.
    >
    > The Texas researchers have also studied paintings of night scenes by Van
    > Gogh
    > and Munch, dated photographs of the Moon by Ansel Adams, and
    > interpreted cryptic
    > lines in a Shakespearean play. Closely related to their work on
    > Caesar is their
    > earlier research on how the Moon and tides affected the World War II
    > amphibious
    > landings on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa and in Normandy on D-day.
    >
    > Caesar's historic landing in 55 BC was the Roman Empire's first
    > excursion north
    > of France, literally to the fringe of the then-known world. When he
    > crossed the
    > English Channel again the following summer with a 10-times-larger
    > fleet, it was
    > very much like a D-day in reverse.
    >
    > In their Sky & Telescope article, the Texas State researchers think they've
    > resolved an age-old debate: When and where did Caesar first land in Britain?
    >
    > Note to Editors/Producers: Images and a parallel release from Texas State
    > University are at
    > http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2008/06/Caesar062308.html
    >   or you may contact press officer Jayme Blaschke at jb71@txstate.edu
    >
    > Roger Sinnott's blog relating to this story appears at
    > http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/21410774.html
    >
    >
    >
    
    
    
    
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