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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lessons from Pleiades, Orion, and Arcturus


The Book of Job has long been praised as a masterpiece of literature, and has been included in a list of the top 100 books of all time. No one really knows for sure who wrote the book, or exactly when it was written. Some scholars believe it was written before Moses (pre 1500 B.C.), while others put it at the time of Solomon (ca. 900 B.C.), and some even as late as the Babylonian Exile, or later (post 600 B.C.).

Despite the fact that I’ve always considered the book of Job as one of my favourites, especially the part where God speaks to Job, between verses 38:1 to 42:6, this blog has been rather slack in its presentation of in-depth commentary related to this amazing piece of literature.

If you type the words “Book of Job” in the search bar of this blog a number of articles that contain verses of the book will pop up. The posting titled 100 Million Year-Old Dinosaurs?, for example, considers the possibility that the two creatures “leviathan” and “behemoth” as described in Job, are in fact extremely accurate depictions of two species of dinosaur namely, “Sarcosuchus” and “Brachiosaurus”.

Numerous commentaries and study guides concerning the book of Job are available online. Some are good, some are bad, some are really amateurish, and some are way too complicated. One of the best I came across, and also the most easy to follow, can be found here.

This specific post will explore the remarkable wisdom contained in the specific wording of two (2) verses:
[31] Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? [32] Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? - Job 38:31-32
The facts presented in this posting will hopefully blow your mind, and if it doesn’t then I hope it will at least demonstrate that the scriptures (God’s Word) also contain a few astounding scientific modern-day truths related to the subject of Cosmology.

Click the above image for a larger view.
PLEIADES

There is a reason why the word bind is used in the above scripture. The MSWord Thesaurus on my PC provides the following synonyms for the word:-- “attach”, “connect”, “join”, “combine”, “unite”, “tie”, “fasten”, and so on - you get the picture?

The Pleiades (and Orion) are also mentioned as the seven stars in Amos 5:8.

Sweet influences is a reference to beauty (Septuagint; Hebrew beauty). Job 38:31 in the New International Version (1984) reads: “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?”

The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier object 45 or M45), is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. – Source

Why is it classified as an open cluster? Because it is made up of a group of up to a few thousand stars that were formed from the same giant molecular cloud and have roughly the same age, and thus the same chemical composition. They are bound to each other by mutual gravitational attraction. – Source

Astronomers estimate that the cluster (of Pleiades) will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighbourhood. – Source

In my mind 250 million years equals an ETERNITY – give or take a few million years ;-) So, when God posed the question to Job, He was in reality implying: You will NEVER, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS be able to unbind the star cluster of Pleiades!

But – this is not the case with Orion…

Click the above image for a larger view.
ORION

God asks: “Canst thou . . . loose the bands of Orion?”

Why was the question asked in this manner? Why did God not simply say: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades and Orion, considering that Orion is also one of the most beautiful, and most recognisable constellations in the night sky? Instead, the word loose is used in the question... Why?

The constellation includes the three familiar and prominent bright stars, all lined up in a neat row, and commonly known as the Belt of Orion. Orion's Belt is called Drie Konings (Three Kings) or the Drie Susters (Three Sisters) by Afrikaans speakers in South Africa, and are referred to as les Trois Rois (the Three Kings) in Daudet's Lettres de Mon Moulin (1866). The appellation Driekoningen (the Three Kings) is also often found in 17th- and 18th-century Dutch star charts and seaman's guides. The same three stars are known in Spain and Latin America as "Las Tres MarĂ­as". Source

Although Arabic names Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, were given to these three bright stars, they only appear to us (who don’t have access to powerful telescopes) as three distinct separate objects in the night sky. Alnitak, for example, is a triple star system at the eastern end of Orion's belt. 

The entire list of stars in Orion can be viewed here.

And guess what? Every star in Orion is travelling its own course, independent of all the others. In other words, the bands are not bound like the Pleiades cluster, and were probably already loosened at the time when God spoke to Job, hence the explicit use of the word “loose”. Sometime in the far distant future, Orion will thus no longer exist.

Confirmation of this fact was provided by, among other sources, the noted astronomer, Garrett Putman Serviss, in his book titled: Curiosities of the Sky, first published in 1909. The book can be read online for FREE @ www.gutenberg.org.

Allow me to quote (just for the record) one passage from this book:
“The great figure of Orion appears to be more lasting, not because its stars are physically connected, but because of their great distance, which renders their movements too deliberate to be exactly ascertained. Two of the greatest of its stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, possess, as far as has been ascertained, no perceptible motion across the line of sight, but there is a little movement perceptible in the ``Belt.'' At the present time this consists of an almost perfect straight line, a row of second-magnitude stars about equally spaced and of the most striking beauty. In the course of time, however, the two right-hand stars, Mintaka and Alnilam (how fine are these Arabic star names!) will approach each other and form a naked-eye double, but the third, Alnita, will drift away eastward, so that the ``Belt'' will no longer exist.
“Canst thou . . . loose the bands of Orion?” No you cannot – NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!

Arcturus' size relative to the Sun
ARCTURUS

“… Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?”

The use of the word guide in this specific question evokes in my mind images of a powerful wild stallion (Arcturus) and its fillies (his sons) galloping in a field… And if it weren’t for some hidden hand controlling them the galloping would be quite reckless and the course somewhat precarious.

I found it quite interesting that the text specifically mentions Arcturus with “his sons” – a probable reference to a whole family of other objects that are ‘running wild’ with Arcturus. Incidentally, the American astronomer, Charles Burckhalter, once mentioned that: “these stars are a law unto themselves.”

Although Arcturus is one of the brightest stars in the sky and has been a significant object to observers since antiquity it has only recently been discovered, in the year 1971, that there are a group of 52 other stars ‘running’ with Arcturus. The group is known as the Arcturus stream. Now how is that for a dynamite fact?

Arcturus is notable for its high proper motion, which is a rather peculiar phenomenon I’d rather not even attempt to explain as I believe only God knows what it is, and only He has the Splendid Might to guide (or steer) these celestial ‘wild horses’.

Arcturus (and his sons) are apparently moving rapidly (122 km/s) relative to the solar system, and is now almost at its closest point to the Sun. They say that the closest approach will happen in about 4,000 years, when the star will be a few hundredths of a light year closer to Earth than it is today. Source

“… Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” I don’t think so!

That concludes the lessons from Pleiades, Orion, and Arcturus.

The discerning reader of these pages would perhaps have noticed that I skipped commentary on the 2nd last question contained within the two verses under discussion, namely: Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? See the posting: Mazzaroth – A Baffling Riddle, or Not?

God Bless!

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