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Vesta – the asteroid

16 September 2011

A video of NASAs Dawn spacecraft flying past the giant asteroid, Vesta, is available online to view (see www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=1020). Vesta has seasons just like the Earth – and there is a huge circular depression near its South Pole, hundreds of miles wide with cliffs several miles high. A mountain squats in the middle of the depression, nine miles tall. No doubt Thunderbolts in due course may comment on this peculiarity (see also www.nasa.gov/dawn or http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov for mission details etc.

Meanwhile, over at www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2011/arch11/110908volcanoes.htm we have a piece about underground lightning and volcanoes with lightning, and the strange comment that the viscuous Mantle deep inside the Earth is akin to plasma in space. Huge displays of lightning during recent eruptions have been recorded on camera. When Mount St Helens erupted in 1981 there was ball lightning as big as beach balls rolling along the ground and large 'telluric' currents of energy have been found inside Earth's crust. These seem to be affected by geomagnetic storms with an origin in sun spots and the solar wind.

Also, at www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2011/arch11/110906wondering.htm … Rens van der Sluijs speculates on Polar 'wondering' – the hype surrounding the movement of the magnetic poles. In the process he reveals there was an episode of geomagnetic excursion that took place between 800 and 600BC – when the geomagnetic dipole inclined by 10 degrees towards the east. In practical terms this meant that aurora could be seen much further south than it is nowadays – in the Levant for example, and Babylon. It just so happens that this time coincides with some other remarkable changes – the beginning of what was known as the Sub-Atlantic climate phase (now recognised as a wet period of climate in NW Europe that lasted several hundred years), the point at which C14 calibration begins, and the era of some remarkable religious and intellectual innovations, a turning point described as an 'axial' era. It is this latter phenomenon that Sluijs chooses to concentrate on as he thinks it has something to do with auroral phenomena being seen much further south than normal (as a result of the geomagnetic excursion). For example, Confucianism in China, Buddhism and Jainism in India arose at this time, the Greek philosophers too, and Zoroastrianism in Persia and more pertinently for the modern western civilisation it coincided with the Hebrew prophets. Now, it is a fact that the life of Elijah marks a turning point in the Bible, the old era is eroded and overtaken by the prophets and their visions. The author thinks that auroral and geomagnetic fields may have caused visions and apparitions and like many others, falls to Ezekiel and its strange tale. He says the vision of a chariot as a windstorm from the north, an immense cloud with flashing lightning surrounded by brilliant light might be just the kind of thing seen in the natural world as a result of heightened geomagnetic activity – but what caused it? His idea is that prophetic imagery is related to auroral apparitions possibly accompanied by hallucinations induced by 'ambient electro-magnetic fields' – which seems to be a twist on the strand of academic thought that holds that mind altering plants, causing hallucinations, are the root of religion and the supernatural.

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