Re: "The Sun DID Stand Still (sic)"

Bill Hamilton (
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 09:42:50 -0500

I wrote:
>>If the earth had stopped rotating for a day and we had an ancient log
>>showing planet positions day by day but didn't note that one day was half
>>again as long as the others, that log would show an anomaly -- Moon and
>>observed planet positions jumping ahead one day.
Glenn wrote

>There wasn't a day to jump ahead. The progression of the 'day' was stopped

If the earth had stopped rotating for one day, and the ancient astronomers
had failed to note that that day was unusually long, then if they had
astronomical tables accurate enough to show the day-by-day motion of, say,
Mars, or if they kept track accurately enough of where the sun rose and set
in terms of its position in the constellations, then there would be a
one-day jump, in the sense that they would have noted that when the sun set
that day it set where it should have set one day later. Of course if they
had timekeeping instruments they could also have noticed that the day was
really a day and a half, so there was no jump. But a table simply giving
the location of sunset/sunrise in the heavens that didn't note the extra
length of the day would appear to show a jump.

Whether the ancient astronomers could measure the position of the sun in
the heavens that accurately I don't know. If they could, they almost
certainly could also note that a particular day was unusually long. In any
case this is a discussion about what could have been done if certain
capabilities had existed.

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr, Ph.D. | Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems | General Motors R&D Center | Warren, MI
810 986 1474 (voice) | 810 986 3003 (FAX) | (home email)