Home > calendar, creationism, physics > >Has the year always been the same duration?

>Has the year always been the same duration?

>There are some writings that claim that the year was previously shorter than it is now. Some people have suggested the year has been 360 days long in the past. Velikovsky mentions a myth that says 5 days were taken from the moon and given to the sun. That is the previous lunar year was 12 × 30 (= 360) days and the old solar year was 360 days. The current lunar year is now 354 and a bit days, solar year 365 and a bit.

Some suggest that the year may have been even shorter prior to this.

If the year has been of different duration (measured in days) there are 2 options:
Scenario 1. The earth’s spin was previously slower and has since speed up. Scenario 2. The earth’s orbit was previously closer to the sun.

Of course it could be a combination of the 2.

Scenario 1
If the earth’s spin was slightly slower and has speed up (presumably by a factor of ~365/360) then the absolute duration of the year is unchanged but more days pass in a year because the days are now shorter.

Scenario 2
If the day length is unchanged then a shorter year would be absolutely shorter, the duration of the year is related to the distance from the earth to the sun (and eccentricity of the orbit, though the earth’s orbit is close to circular)

The month is currently 29.5 days long. Scenario 2 with an altered earth orbit would have a shorter year but the same duration of the month. Scenario 1 would have a longer old day of 24.35 hours (360/365.25×24) which would make the previous month seem shorter at 29 old days rather than the 29.5 days it currently is. Of course the orbit of the moon could have changed at the same time (or at another time). The asymmetrical cratering of the moon suggests catastrophe in the heavens.

An idea that came to me reading a footnote in the book In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown. I have not actually read the book so this may have been in the book, nevertheless I have not seen it previously: If the atmosphere pre-flood had a lot of water in it to precipitate (eg. vapour canopy theory), it would have some mass. After the flood the mass would now be at sea level, and by conservation of angular momentum, the earth would speed up, the amount depending on the height from which it precipitated. Consequently shortening the day and “lengthening” the year (in number of days).

It would be interesting to look into this in terms of the amount of water and the original height of the water. The mass may be completely insignificant and the change in spin speed inconsequential, but I haven’t seen figures.

Of course any change in the earth’s year may be unrelated to this and be all to do with the earth’s interaction with the moon and other celestial phenomenon. Or the change in year length may have been at a different time than the flood: note Joshua’s long day and Hezekiah’s sundial. Or perhaps there was more than one episode.

Or course the duration of the day and the month may have been the same as the current figures since creation. It does make one wonder why the ancients had stories to the contrary though.

Categories: calendar, creationism, physics
  1. Starwind
    2007 November 15 at 03:45

    Some suggest that the year may have been even shorter prior to this.
    Possibly it is the difference between a sideral month of 27.3 days vs the lunar month of 29.5 days.
    If they looked up into the night sky and sighted on the exact same star then roughly every 27 days they’d see the moon in about the same position relative to that star with the same lunar features recognizable. They could only make such sightings a few months out of the year, when that star was in their night sky. Subsequent months (because that star was now in the day sky) they’d either have to pick another star at night or wait a few months ’til the original star was back in the night sky. This is observation of a sideral (relative to the stellar background) month.
    But if they looked up into the night sky and waited for a full moon, then they’d see that roughly every 29 days. This is observation of a synodic (relative to the sun background) month.
    If you make a calendar of 12 sideral months, you get a “year” of 327.6 days. If you add a 13th sideral month (to get closer to a solar year) you get 354.9 days.
    If you make a calendar of 12 lunar or synodic months, you get 354 days.
    Neither of which correspond to the actual solar year of 365.25 days.
    It does make one wonder why the ancients had stories to the contrary though.
    Could you cite which ancients, when, and what their story was? Might be able to figure out how they observed (rightly or wrongly) a year.
    The Babylonians were intercalating to reconcile lunar calendars with solar years as early as 21st century BC and had it well standardized by 541 BC.

  2. 2007 November 19 at 09:11

    Sorry Starwind, this is not something I have studied. I have merely noted it when I have read it. My post was more a though on the physics of the conservation of angular momentum.
    You could try Velikovsky. While I disagree with some of his material, he does quote examples of the ancients’ material.
    Biblically there are examples of a 360 day year, which you are well aware of with your interest in Daniel. It may just be a prophetic device but then, maybe not.
    In the flood the duration of 5 months corresponds to 150 days. This may be an approximation due to the weather conditions of the deluge, but it would also be consistent with a 30 day month.

  3. Starwind
    2007 November 20 at 18:21

    It has been decades since I read any Velikovsky, I don’t recollect him quoting ancient inscriptions, but at the time I wasn’t paying careful attention – I may need to revisit him.
    I suspect that ancient cultures, including the Hebrews, generally assumed a 360 day year for ‘generic’ purposes (e.g. when they were *not* computing the date of a feast day).
    The “360-day” year may be an average of the synodic month and the solar year:

    Synodic month (new moon, earth, sun conjunction to next new moon, earth, sun conjuction) = 29.53059 days
    Solar year = 365.25 days.
    359.805 = [(12 x 29.53) + 365.25] / 2, or less accurately: 359.5 = [(12 x 29.5) + 365] / 2

    Either was then rounded up to 360. This may also be the basis for circles and sundials having 360 “degrees” or steps – a somewhat arbitrary approximation of two conflicting observations.
    But the Hebrews used two calendars (civil and sacred) which both had months of alternating 30 and 29 day durations (which they intercalated to keep it synchronized with the solar year). When a date was important, it was determined according to a calendar, but when a generic duration of time was in view, it may have been approximated using a 360-day year rather than consult the ‘high priests’ who kept the calendar.
    The Genesis flood account implies 5 consecutive 30-day months, but the number “150” days may have been an approximation, just like the even-numbered tens of thousands of warriers on battlefields often seem to be approximations.
    Revelation doesn’t actually prescribe a 30-day duration for months. Such is presumed from aligning the 1260 day duration of the two witnesses with the 42 months authority of the beast, but in fact they don’t align as the witnesses are killed at the end of the 2nd woe, before the end of the beast’s 42 months. Nor is there any specific scripture which says the two witnesses arrive synchronously with the beast’s being given authority for 42 months.
    There is undoubteldy considerable overlap of the 42 months and the 1260 days, but it does not seem a mathematically equivalent alignment, because it is based on the two-witnesses whose end does not align with the end of the 42 months or the antichrist.
    There is no need to know a “prophetic year”, except for Daniel’s 69 weeks, and for which only a normnal, regular solar year fulfills Daniel’s prophecy correctly.

  4. J.A.
    2008 October 16 at 18:16

    Well, of course I can tell you that the true year is 362 24-h. days, which
    means that if the True Year 0 was, when Buddha was born, the one of right
    now is something like 2545, any sugge-stions, please? Greetings, arentved@in.com.

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