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Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: Fire on the Moon

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 18, 2019 at 5:10 AM

On this day (June Eighteen) in 1178 five monks in Canterbury witnessed a disturbance on the moon so great that it was visible from the earth to the naked eye. As they described the event to the chronicler, Gervase, “the upper horn [of the moon] split in two” and “from the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks. Meanwhile the body of the Moon which was below writhed, as it were in anxiety, and to put it in the words of those who reported it to me and saw it with their own eyes, the Moon throbbed like a wounded snake. Afterwards it resumed its proper state. This phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.” Modern astronomers theorize that what the monks witnessed was the impact of a meteor or a comet which formed the Giordano Bruno crater.

Categories: Today in History

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