May 06, 2018 I Paul Seaburn

Medieval Tapestries May Hold Proof of Planet 9

While astronomers keep looking but have not yet found the rumored Planet 9, and doomsayers still use NASA’s interest in it as proof that their cataclysmic Planet X or Nibiru also exists, two researchers in Ireland think the proof is not in space but on a wall. Wait, what?

The “wall” is in the Ulster Museum where, from May 2 through June 3, the Bayeux Tapestry is on display. This is the first time the Dark Ages tapestry has been outside of France in 950 years. According to various legends, it was either commissioned by Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, or more likely by William's half-brother, Bishop Odo, sometime in the 1070s. The embroidered tapestry measures 70 meter (230 ft) by 50 centimeters (20 in) and tells the story of the Norman conquest of England from the Norman point of view.

The cloth gets its name from the Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy where a 1476 inventory is the first historical reference to it. The size of the tapestry alone is significant, considering when it was made. The fact that it has survived in such good shape through all subsequent conquests, wars, sackings and moves is even more impressive. (A recent example: the Gestapo moved it to the Louvre during World War II and Heimlich Himmler was planning to later move it to Berlin.) However, that’s not what interested Marilina Cesario, a University of Ulster medievalist interested in astronomy, and Pedro Lacerda, a Queen's University astronomer interested in the humanities. According to Space Daily, they were brought together by United Kingdom's Leverhulme Trust which was funding projects that combine the arts and the sciences.

The end result of the meeting of Lacerdo and Cesario is "Marvelling at the skies: Comets Through the Eyes of the Anglo-Saxons," the exhibit at the University of Belfast where the Bayeux Tapestry is joined by other examples of astronomical images made by Anglo-Saxons during the Dark Ages. The Bayex Tapestry earns its place in the exhibition due to its famous depiction of Halley’s Comet, the first known picture of the comet which visited in 1066 and was a good omen for William the Conqueror and a bad one for England’s Harold II, who died at the Battle of Hastings.

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Halley's Comet in 1066

Marilina Cesario hopes the exhibit creates new interest in old astronomy.

"We have a wealth of historical records of comets in Old English, Old Irish, Latin and Russian which have been overlooked for a long time. Early medieval people were fascinated by the heavens, as much as we are today."

What does the Bayeux Tapestry have to do with Planet 9, Dr. Lacerdo?

“We can take the orbits of comets currently known and use a computer to calculate the times when those comets would be visible in the skies during the Middle Ages. The precise times depend on whether our computer simulations include Planet Nine. So, in simple terms, we can use the medieval comet sightings to check which computer simulations work best: the ones that include Planet Nine or the ones that do not."

In other words, they’re not looking for woven images of Planet 9 (although finding one would be nice) … they’re searching the tapestries for discrepancies in the timing of the comets’ appearances between the pictures and the models. Those differences may indicate they were affected by the existence of a giant rogue planet.

If Planet Nine data is fed into the model and it matches the Dark Ages tapestries, will 1066 be replaced in the annals of famous numbers by 9?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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