Monday, December 28, 2009

The Sumerian Planisphere

Last night I watched a really interesting program about the Sumerian Planisphere, a cuneiform tablet from Southern Iraq dating to 700 BC.

Apparently, it is an early astronomer's observation of an unusual celestial event, possibly an asteroid streaking across the sky, originally recorded in 3123 BC.

The program postulated that an atmospheric explosion of this asteroid may have led to both the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as a previously unexplained mini-ice-age.

True or not, astronomers can pinpoint the date of these observations, recorded in cuneiform, by the positioning of the planets and the constellations on the tablet alone.