St Paul's conversion

15 May 2015

An article in Meteoritics and Planetary Science 50 (3) page 368-381 (2015) 'Chelyabinsk, Zond IV, and a possible first century fireball of historical importance' by William K Hartman of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona has caught the eye of George Howard and he has posted the full article on his web site at ... click on the download button at the bottom of the pdf window and you can read the full article online or print out.

The well recorded Chelyabinsk event in February 2013, the Tunguska event of 1908, and the Zond IV vehicle offer opportunities to compare recollections of modern eyewitnesses of a fireball event to older eyewitnesses to a possible fireball in around 30AD. The first century AD book, 'Acts of the Apostles' provides a description of a bright light that caused Saul and his companions to fall to the ground - and temporarily blinded Saul for 3 days. The bright light is described as coming from the heavens - abode of God. Saul interpreted his experience as a warning against his persecution of Christians - and mended his ways.

The article is well argued - and no doubt most people will shrug their shoulders - so what!

Fireballs do cause temporary blindness as a result of exposure to intense radiation - the explosion of the meteor. In Irish myth the comet god Balor (from which we get the English word blaze via bolg/ bal = bright light) had the ability to cause blindness to humans that gazed forth on him. The Fir Bolg prised open his closed eye in order to blind their enemies (and worse), suggesting a revolving comet or meteor that turned full frontal towards people on the surface of the Earth. See Patrick McCafferty and Mike Baillie, 'The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology' Tempus:2005