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10/12/2020 – Ephemeris – Columbus’ lucky mistake

October 12, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, October 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 7:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:56. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:32 tomorrow morning.

Columbus has become a controversial person in recent years mainly on how he treated the indigenous peoples and the havoc subsequent Europeans wrought on them and their culture for the last 600 plus years. I maintain that he was also bad at geography. That the Earth was round was not an issue among the educated of his day. The Earth’s size, however, was. The Earth’s circumference accepted by most scholars of that day was pretty close to the modern value of about 25 thousand miles. Columbus thought it was about 7 thousand miles less putting the Orient that much closer by sailing west from Europe. This was a minority opinion, but he convinced the king and queen of Spain to finance his venture based on it.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Wikipedia entry for Eratosthenes who calculated the circumference of the Earth in the 3rd century BCE.

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