On the 18th of June in 1178, about an hour after sunset, five monks from Canterbury saw “fire, hot coals, and sparks” bursting from the moon. They told their story to Gervase of Canterbury whose chronical includes their description of the event.
Gervase reported that the upper horn of the bright, new crescent moon “suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of this division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out fire, hot coals and sparks. The body of the moon, which was below, writhed and throbbed like a wounded snake.”
Many astronomers believed that the monks had watched a meteorite impact the moon, creating the lunar crater known as Giordano Bruno. However, there are no other records of the event. Even more telling, there’s no historical record of any after-effects, while astronomers say that such an impact would have triggered a “blizzard-like, week-long meteor storm on Earth” which would certainly have attracted notice.
I think they happened to be at the right place at the right time to look up in the sky and see a meteor that was directly in front of the moon, coming straight towards them.
And it was a pretty spectacular meteor that burst into flames in the Earth’s atmosphere — fizzling, bubbling, and spluttering. If you were in the right one-to-two kilometer patch on Earth’s surface, you’d get the perfect geometry. That would explain why only five people are recorded to have seen it.
The five monks really missed out. They should have made a wish!
Meanwhile, on the 18th of June in 2011, these superstars submitted Saturday scenes:
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I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!