Recent findings suggest once again that science reveals how much is not known. Venus was found to have a longer day than was measured by the Magellan in the early 1990's: a noticeably and significantly longer day. The motion in the universe might be more quixotic than many had thought.
Once again many are struggling to find natural reasons for the variations. But once again they forget to ask how it is that there is energy for such changes in motion.
A recent report regarding the variation to the orbit of Venus was picked up by several newspapers.
March 1, 2012 - 7:10AM
Venus [has] an atmosphere so hot, toxic and heavy that any visitor would risk being simultaneously melted, suffocated and crushed.
a Venusian day would seem interminable, for it is the equivalent of 243 days on Earth... A day on Venus is getting even longer, French astronomers have discovered.
A team from the Paris Observatory analysed data from a spectrometer aboard a European orbiter, the Venus Express.
The astronomers were stunned when they checked landmarks against the last mapping of Venus, carried out between 1990 and 1994 by the US probe Magellan. At a given point in the Venusian day, landmarks were a full 20 kilometres behind where they should have been.
"After eliminating possible sources of error, we believe that the duration of the Venusian day must have changed over the 16 years," they said in a press release.
Their calculation is that an extra six and a half terrestrial minutes have been added to the Venusian day during this time. "On the astronomical scale, this is a major change," said investigator Pierre Drossart.
The astronomers' hypothesis is that friction by Venus' atmosphere is braking the movement of the terrain below.
..The atmosphere is 100 kms thick, with extremely dense clouds of 96 per cent carbon dioxide, driven by superwinds reaching some 350 kilometres per hour. Atmospheric pressure at the surface is 92 times that of Earth - the equivalent of being more than 900 metres below the ocean.
"A braking effect from the atmosphere also occurs erratically on Earth, but the discrepancy is only a matter of a few tenths of a second and it is imperceptible," Drossart told AFP.
"But theoretical models suggest that this is probably just a cyclical phenomenon. If the atmosphere speeds up, the planet slows...”
A slowing in rotation on its axis of over 6 earth minutes in 16 years, in a clockwork uniform model, could mean that Venus began spinning at a faster rate and is decaying so it might eventually stop. If the slowing is assumed to be at a uniform rate, every 222 earth years its rotation on its axis would slow by one earth day. Over approximately 6,000 years of recent recorded history Venus' rotation on its axis might have slowed by 27 days (it might have been 216 earth days to one Venus day when Adam saw it). But such an idea was rejected by this team of researchers. They applied a theory in a model which eliminated this idea and concluded that it was cyclical. That means that though Venus' rotation motion on its axis has only been observed slowing down, they expect it to speed up, or accelerate. To make anything moving speed up requires energy input. According to the model the energy is to come from the atmosphere.
There have been a variety of speculations,
However, surface features seen by Venus Express some 16 years later could only be lined up with those observed by Magellan if the length of the Venus day is on average 6.5 minutes longer than Magellan measured.
This also agrees with the most recent long-duration radar measurements from Earth.
When the two maps did not align, I first thought there was a mistake in my calculations as Magellan measured the value very accurately, but we have checked every possible error we could think of, said Nils Müller, a planetary scientist at the DLR German Aerospace Centre, lead author of a research paper investigating the rotation.
Scientists, including Özgur Karatekin of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, looked at the possibility of short-term random variations in the length of a Venus day, but concluded these should average themselves out over longer timescales.
On the other hand, other recent atmospheric models have shown that the planet could have weather cycles stretching over decades, which could lead to equally long-term changes in the rotation period. Other effects could also be at work, including exchanges of angular momentum between Venus and the Earth when the two planets are relatively close to each other.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
But six and a half minutes variation over a mere 16 years argues for a huge and orderly variation in weather to cause it. It seems they are so dissatisfied with this explanation, they also speculate that it might be the effect of the earth. It will take at least another 10-16 years to confirm whether the slowing of rotation is continuing or not.
Based on other evidence of loss of motion, due to friction, and the general state of loss of order over time and increasing entropy that is observed in the world, it seems more reasonable to conclude that Venus might continue to slow in rotation on its axis, though that may not be uniform. It is an observation consistent with science that the heavens are subject to decay in energy. The Psalmist wrote of the Hebrew God
The heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shall endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall thou change them, and they shall be changed: (Psalm 102:25-26)
Isaiah records the Hebrew God speaking directly to his people about entropy,
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for.. the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner.. (Isaiah 51:6)
This theme is taken up in the introduction in the book of Hebrews (1:10-12). The recent, and very accurate, observations of Venus seem to establish that in the last 16 years the axial rotation of Venus (that gives it the semblance of 'a day') has slowed markedly. This is more evidence the heavens do change, in analogy Venus is “waxing old.” The ancient Hebrews knew the heavens.
A point is that earth, though it wobbles a bit, is far more stable in its orderly motions than Venus. This is another reason why one of the closest planets to earth is not suitable for life, and more evidence for the uniqueness of earth.
Indeed Venus is truly a planet, in the original sense of the meaning from the Greek “wandering star.” It seems its rotation wanders, noticeably.
Venus the Wandering Star
The Ancient Greeks, though the great era of their civilization was much closer to the present than the Hebrews, also called the planets 'stars'. The world 'planet' is from the Greek planētēs meaning 'wandering' or 'erratic'. The Bible captures the Greek thinking, in an 'analogy' for those who have “gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.” (Jude 1:11). These are likened to,
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars (ἀστέρες πλανῆται, asteres planetai) whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude 1:13)
Here is an understanding that the wandering stars, were not quite as other stars. The wandering stars had no light of their own, only reflected light. Their surface was darkness. In the next two centuries the Greeks were to develop complicated mathematics to help predict the paths of the wandering stars. Yet curiously by the time of Ptolomy in the 2nd Century CE the Greeks had rejected a heliocentric model and recognised seven objects orbiting in total including the sun and the moon.
Paul correctly notes that there are differences between stars,
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory. (1Cor. 15:41)
At the time the King James Version was translated they loved the idea of there being 7 stars. They translated Pleaides mentioned by the Hebrew prophet Amos (about 700BCE) as 'seven stars.'
Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel. Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, Seek him that makes the seven stars (Pleiades) and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night: that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: (Amos 5:6-8)
The Hebrew text refers to the constellation, but the translators may have had an inkling there were seven planets and liked the number seven.
It seems that to the ancient Greeks of 200CE (as Ptolomy records) there were five wandering stars. In the 18th century when they began observing in detail the heavens the planets increased rapidly to include also asteroids until there were 10 planets and the earth. From 1854 they were more precise and came to agree there were 7 wandering stars (or 8 planets including the earth).
In 1930 Pluto was observed and documented and considered worthy to be a planet.
Then in 2006 the BBC ran this headline “Planets plan boosts tally to12”. As the 12 included earth there were 11 stars visible from earth, which might refer to the 11 stars that Joseph saw in his dream (Gen. 37:9) the article noted however, that the proposal for 12 was not popular and it was to be voted on,
The plan has been drawn up by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) with the aim of settling the question of what does and does not count as a planet.
Some 2,500 astronomers gathered at the IAU General Assembly in Prague will vote on the plan next Thursday. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4795755.stm
The historic vote came to conclude that once again there are eight planets in the solar system and other smaller objects. The definition for a planet ensured Pluto and the other objects found don't fit as it required that a planet must have cleared the neighbourhood about it. Once again, from the viewpoint from earth, there is agreement there are seven planetes, wandering stars.
The number of Wandering Stars in the Bible
Curiously in August 2006 there was publicity regarding efforts to increase the count, which would lead to the 5 other orbiting objects (Ceres, Pluto, Makemake, Haumea and Eris) being included as planets. That would have made 12 (in addition to earth),
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (Rev 12:1)
Perhaps we should take note of what goes on with the planets, as it was the king of Babylon who sought to exalt himself,
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (Isaiah 14:13)
It seems a tally of seven planetes may meet with approval as in the Revelation, John sees a vision,
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength. (Rev 1:16)
The implication is that the planets (stars) are in the hands of the Creator, and here given to the son in Glory.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night...The LORD of hosts is his name: (Jeremiah 31:35)
The Bible written before the later era of Greek observation with a count of 7 and 12 stars, was more accurate than the Greek observation. How did a Galilean fisherman know better than great Greek philosophers? Today it is agreed, just as the Apostle John wrote, there are precisely 7 classical planets (wandering stars) or 12 including the Pluto-like objects.
There seems no reason to then reject the Bible as a guide to thinking as to why Venus might be slowing. Based on the Bible, Venus is slowing because of entropy put in place by the Creator
The heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shall endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed: (Psalm 102:25-26)
Slowing of regular motion is change. We see that change because the Creator chose to change it.
No one can explain just how it is that there is such a large observable variation in the regular movement of the planets. The more that is observed, the more inexplicable variation in motion is observed. In the case of Venus the question now is what is putting on the brakes?
To define out God requires that the inexplicable variation in motion be 'a mystery.'
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork. (Psa 19:1)
Pictures Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
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