Chapter 16 — Our Cosmic Clockwork and the “16 factor”

Chapter 16: Our Cosmic Clockwork and the “16 factor”

16.1 The Antikythera orrery

This first section of Chapter 16 is admittedly somewhat speculative, though no less relevant for that matter. To the likely satisfaction of horologists and aficionados of mechanical contrivances, we will take a fresh look at the wondrous Antikythera mechanism, an ancient orrery retrieved in one lump from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera in 1901.

"The Antikythera mechanism is remarkable for the level of miniaturisation and the complexity of its parts, which is comparable to that of fourteenth-century astronomical clocks.(...) There is much debate as to whether the mechanism had indicators for all five of the planets known to the ancient Greeks. No gearing for such a planetary display survives." "The Antikythera mechanism" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)

The mechanism is generally presumed to be missing a number of gears although no one can figure out how so many hypothetical parts could possibly have fitted into such a thin casing. But what if there were no missing parts? What if the gears and cogs found in the mechanism were enough for it to do its job?

It has been suggested in later years that the Antikythera mechanism is based on a lunar calendar (354 days) rather than a solar calendar (365 days). That is at least the conclusion of a recent study (2020) published by the British Horological Institute:

"The physical evidence does not support the mechanism having a 365-division calendar ring. Therefore, we must set aside the notion that the front dial calendar ring of the Antikythera mechanism is a representation of the so-called 365-day Egyptian civil calendar [...]. Based on the significant finding for 354 holes matching the extant inter-hole distance, the confirmation of others’ measurements, and our own measurements of the calendar and Zodiac rings’ markings, we interpret 354 divisions as the most likely of these two division candidates and propose that the front dial calendar ring of the Antikythera Mechanism is a 354 day lunar calendar. [...] In Part 1 of this article, we presented the finding that data we recorded from high resolution computed tomography (CT) images of Fragment C of the Antikythera Mechanism do not support the mechanism having a 365-division front dial calendar ring, and instead the evidence suggests the most likely number of divisions of this feature is 354." "The Antikythera Mechanism: Evidence of a Lunar Calendar" - (opens in a new tab) by Budiselic, Thoeni, Dubno, Ramsey - (2020)

This is interesting since the TYCHOS model suggests that the Moon plays a central ‘arithmetic’ or even ‘mechanical’ role in our Solar System. We saw in Chapter 13 that all our planets’ orbital periods are ‘round’ multiples of the Moon’s TMSP of 29.22 days. If the Greek astronomer who engineered the amazing Antikythera orrery was aware of these orbital resonances, the mechanism may have been much less complex than currently assumed.

I spent some time to personally verify the hypothesis of the British Horological Institute, using an image editing program. To do so, I selected a 59-hole section of Fragment C (the largest and most important fragment of the orrery), then ‘stitched together’ 6 copies of the same into a 360° ring featuring 354 equidistant holes (59 × 6).

The tentative graphic reconstruction of Fragment C shown in Fig. 16.1 would seem to confirm the 354-day division of the front dial calendar ring, supporting the notion that the Antikythera mechanism was indeed based on a lunar calendar. Seen in light of the discoveries flowing from the TYCHOS model, could it be that the 35 surviving gears and seven displays of the mechanism were sufficient to replicate the motions of all our Solar System’s bodies?

Fig. 16.1

This is evidence showing that the ancients were well aware of the central role of the Moon in our Solar System—just as proposed in the TYCHOS model—where the Moon is shown to act as the central driveshaft of our Sun-Mars binary pair and of all the planets orbiting around the Earth-Moon system.

For more details on the Antikythera mechanism, I recommend watching Chris Ramsay’s fine video “The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 10 - Evidence Of A Lunar Calendar” "The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 10 - Evidence Of A Lunar Calendar" (opens in a new tab)

16.2 The ubiquitous ‘16 factor’

Another ‘horological aspect’ of our Solar System is the curious ‘16 factor’ which underlies the empirically observed orbital periodicities of many if not all of its components. To better understand how this ’16 factor’ fits into the greater picture, a brief recap of the information given in Chapter 13 is in order:

The resonant periods of our inner solar system’s bodies over a 16-year time span:

Sun 365.25 days → 16 revolutions in 5844 days

Mars 730.5 days → 8 revolutions in 5844 days

Venus 584.4 days → 10 synodic periods in 5844 days

Mercury 116.88 days → 50 synodic periods in 5844 days

Moon 29.22 days → 200 synodic periods in 5844 days

Common sense is at the root of all science. So, while common sense may not constitute ‘proof’ in the strictly empirical sense, no theory or model should ever relegate common sense to the back seat. This is precisely what Copernicanism has done by positing that the Earth-Moon system is revolving around the Sun at hypersonic speed, like any other random object, despite the fact that all the components of the system are geared to the Moon’s TMSP, as viewed and computed from Earth. In contrast, if the Earth-Moon system is located at the centre of our system, as posited by the TYCHOS model, the existence of such ‘resonances’ and ‘multipliers’ becomes a considerably less mysterious affair. Figure 16.3 plots the relative orbital periods of the Sun, Mars, Mercury, Venus and the Moon over a 16-year time span. As we have already pointed out, the orbital periods of our system’s celestial bodies are all near-exact multiples of the Moon’s TMSP of 29.22 days.

Fig. 16.2 Conceptual diagram illustrating the relative orbital ratios of the celestial bodies in our ‘cosmic clockwork’ over a period of 16 years or 5844 days (not actual planetary motions or trajectories).

The following list of occurrences of the ‘16 factor’ in our Solar System is by no means exhaustive:

• Mars completes a full apogee-to-perigee cycle in ~16 years.

• As Mars completes one of its orbits, it processes by about 1/16 of a solar year (~22.828 days).

• Venus and Mars reconjunct roughly every 16 years on either side of Earth.

• Mercury retrogrades for an average period of 1/16 of a solar year (~22.828 days).

• The Moon’s Saros cycle of 6585.3211 days is nearly equal to 16 moon cycles of 411.78433 days.

• The well-known 405500-year eccentricity cycle amounts to 16 × 25344 years (see section 16.4).

• The Sun’s orbital speed (107226 km/h) is ~16 times its equatorial rotational speed (6675 km/h).

• The Sun has a distinct, ‘partial’ 11-year cycle which ‘comes full circle’ in 176 years (11 x 16).

By now, astronomers should be asking themselves why there are so many indications in the Solar System of clockwork-like harmony and interconnectedness. For the record, I have no pretense of proposing a ‘Theory of Everything’ or of unraveling the ‘celestial mechanics’ governing our cosmos. Yet, I do hope the TYCHOS model will encourage more researchers to entertain the prospect that celestial bodies are governed by electromagnetic rather than gravitational forces. In the realm of magnetism, opposites attract and likes repel; interestingly, the same phenomenon is observed in water vortexes spinning in opposite or similar directions, as demonstrated experimentally in a recent video (2020) by ‘Fractal Woman’ titled “What is magnetism?” "What is magnetism?" - by Fractal Woman (2020) (opens in a new tab)

Several years ago, while musing over the possible electromagnetic nature of our Solar System, I composed the conceptual graphic shown in Figure 16.3. Needless to say, the two cogs are merely schematic elements―although, let us not forget, the wondrous Antikythera mechanism was actually put together with cogs and gears.

Fig. 16.3

The big cog may represent the combined magnetic fields of the Sun and Mars, exerting a balanced ‘counter-torque’ on the barycentric cog (Earth’s own magnetic field of opposite polarity), thereby causing our entire system to slowly rotate ‘clockwise’ around itself once every 25344 years. In the early days of my TYCHOS research, the idea of a clockwise motion of our planet caused me much perplexity. At the time, I thought no such ‘retrograde’ orbits had ever been observed. In recent decades however, astronomers hunting for Earth-like exoplanets have discovered numerous orbs nestled within binary systems exhibiting retrograde orbits, meaning they revolve in the opposite direction of their host star:

“Astronomers have discovered nine new transiting exoplanets. Surprisingly, six out of a larger sample of 27 were found to be orbiting in the opposite direction to the rotation of their host star — the exact reverse of what is seen in our own solar system. The new results really challenge the conventional wisdom that planets should always orbit in the same direction as their stars spin, says Andrew Cameron of the University of St Andrews, who presented the new results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM2010) in Glasgow this week.” "Turning planetary theory upside down: Nine new exoplanets found, some with retrograde orbits" - by ESO (2010) (opens in a new tab)

These discoveries led the science community to a massive rethink of their models of planetary formation:

“In just two decades, we have gone from knowing one planetary system (our own) to thousands, with 3268 exoplanets now known. This has driven a massive rethink of our models of planetary formation. […] Then came another set of shocking discoveries. Rather than moving in the same plane as their host star’s equator, some Hot Jupiters turned out to have highly tilted orbits. Some even move on retrograde orbits, in the opposite direction to their star’s rotation.” "Stars with planets on strange orbits: what’s going on?" - by Brett Addison and Jonti Horner (2016) (opens in a new tab)

Thus, Earth’s ‘retrograde’ (clockwise) orbital motion, as posited by the TYCHOS model, is neither improbable nor exceptional, since several other systems have been empirically observed to have bodies revolving in the opposite direction of their host stars.

16.3 The Sun’s 176-year cycle

According to scientists specializing in the study of the Sun, our star exhibits a short period of solar activity of 11 years and a longer one of 176 years. The latter is a well-known cycle discussed in numerous academic papers on the Sun’s ‘cyclic behavior’ and its effects on our earthly lives.

Interestingly, we see that 176 years amounts to 16 x 11 years. Once more, the ‘16 factor’ pops up, this time in relation to solar activity. Also note that 176 years is exactly 1/12 of 2112 years, which in turn is exactly 1/12 of the TYCHOS Great Year (25344 years). It really looks like we are on to something here. But there’s more.

Fig. 16.4

16.4 The TYCHOS and the 405 kiloyear cycle

"The 405,000-year cycle is the most regular astronomical pattern linked to the Earth's annual turn around the sun." - Dennis V. Kent

Few people have ever heard of this Earth-Sun cycle of 405000 years (405 kyr), but it is well known by scientists studying our planet’s secular cycles, be they astronomers, geologists or dendrochronologists. The 405-kyr cycle is today considered a significant ‘yardstick’ which appears to regulate a number of distinct, long-term patterns in various fields of geoscience, including climatology:

"The climate cycles are directly related to how the Earth orbits the sun and slight variations in sunlight reaching Earth lead to climate and ecological changes," said Kent, who studies Earth's magnetic field. "The Earth's orbit changes from close to perfectly circular to about 5 percent elongated especially every 405,000 years.(...) The results showed that the 405,000-year cycle is the most regular astronomical pattern linked to the Earth's annual turn around the sun, he said." "Earth's orbital changes have influenced climate" - Science Daily (2018) (opens in a new tab)

This curious cycle of around 405000 (± 500) years is a hotly debated topic within geochronology circles, as it is held to be a particularly accurate and reliable ‘geologic metronome’ of sorts, although the reasons for its existence remain unclear. Various hypotheses have been put forth, yet no firm consensus has been reached as to the causes of its peculiar duration.

“Milankovitch cycles identified in sedimentary successions are being used to formulate an ‘Astronomical Time Scale’ (ATS) for the geologic record, with efforts well underway for the Cenozoic and Mesozoic eras. Back through time, however, ATS resolving power declines due to uncertainties in the orbital solutions and Earth precession model. Prior to 50 Ma, only the modeled 405-kyr orbital eccentricity cycle retains high accuracy, leading to the idea for a ‘405-kyr metronome‘ to define the ATS for all geologic time.”"A Survey of Paleozoic Cyclostratigraphy presentation" (opens in a new tab) by Linda A. Hinnov and George Mason (2017)

“Only a few modeled planetary motions are stable enough for use as a metronome, for example, the 405-kyr orbital eccentricity cycle arising from the interaction of the secular frequencies g2-g5. Model stability studies by Laskar et al. (2004) suggest that the uncertainty of the ATS using this term alone will be at most only 0.1% at 100 Ma, and 0.2% at 250 Ma.”"Precision and Accuracy of the ATS" - Earth Time (2006) (opens in a new tab)

"The 405-kyr period cycle is related to the gravitational interaction of Jupiter and Venus (g2–g5 cycle) and is the prominent and most stable term in the approximation of eccentricity of Earth’s orbital variations on geologic timescales despite chaotic behavior of the Solar System." "Empirical evidence for stability of the 405-kiloyear Jupiter–Venus eccentricity cycle over hundreds of millions of years" (opens in a new tab)

As you can see, numerous scientific papers have addressed this particularly regular 405-kyr cycle. Intrigued by the existence of such a long cycle, I decided to put it to the test in the TYCHOS model. With the ubiquitous ‘16-factor’ in mind, I took the higher bound of the period (405500 years) and divided it by the TGY.

405500y / 25344y ≈ 16

Once again, the ubiquitous ‘16-factor’ popped up! Amazingly enough, as I proceeded to visualise this 405500-year interval in the Tychosium 3D simulator, I found that, at both ends of this long cycle, Mars, Venus and Mercury return to virtually the same place in the firmament, whereas our Moon returns at the opposite side of the Earth, probably because, as you may recall, the Sun-Moon revolution ratio is 1:12.5, according to the TYCHOS. Figure 16.5 is a double screenshot from the Tychosium 3D simulator comparing the planetary positions on two dates separated by 405500 years.

Figure 16.5 Positions of Sun, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Moon on 21 June 2000 (left) and 21 June 407500 (right).

The sheer size of the 405-kyr cycle got me thinking of grander things, such as the apparent interstellar resonances between the Sirius binary system and our own, as described in Chapter 6. In that chapter, I speculated whether the Sirius system might be our system’s ‘double-double’ binary companion. We also saw that Sirius A and B revolve around each other in about 50 solar years. Thus, in 405500 years, Sirius A and B would revolve around each other 8110 times (405500 / 50 = 8110).

This is a rather interesting finding because, as shown by the Tychosium 3D simulator, after an interval of 811000 years (i.e., 8110 x 100, or 2 x 405500), Mars, Venus and Mercury will again return to the same place in our skies, but this time around, even our Moon will return to virtually the same place. You can verify this remarkable 811000-year cycle for yourself by opening the Tychosium 3D simulator on your computer and proceeding as follows:

  1. Set the date of the Tychosium to 1962-02-05 (at 00:00:00 UTC). You will immediately see that this date featured a most spectacular and rare multiple planetary conjunction: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, the Sun and our Moon were all aligned at around 21h15m of RA and, consequently, a solar eclipse was taking place somewhere east of Indonesia, in the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, Mars and Saturn were conjuncting at around 20h20m of RA. To verify this, open the ‘Positions’ scroll-down menu and compare the ephemerides (RA and DEC) of each of the bodies of our ‘inner’ Solar System.

  2. Next, toggle the date to 812962-02-05 (i.e., 811000 years later) and compare the positions of Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Sun and our Moon with those of 5 February 1962. You will see that the ephemerides of these bodies are virtually identical and that the Moon will again eclipse the Sun (just a few hours earlier) somewhere in Indonesia. As an extra ‘bonus’, you may also wish to compare the celestial positions of the asteroid Eros on the above two dates.

Large step-by-step illustration of the 811000-year cycle: (opens in a new tab)

You can visualise this 811000-year interval in the Tychosium 3D simulator starting from any date of your choice. Note that 811000 years equals 2 x 405500 years and adds up to just about 32 (2 x 16) TGYs, or 16 ‘Great Years of Mars’ (50688 solar years). Our Solar System is a truly astounding clockwork and, if it stands the test of time, the Tychosium 3D simulator may come to be considered the ‘Antikythera of the modern era’. As we shall see in Chapter 20, the ‘mega cycle’ of 811000 years turns out to be the time employed by our Solar System and the Sirius system to revolve around each other. But for now let us simply add that the Earth’s latest ‘total’ geomagnetic reversal is reckoned to have occurred about 800000 years ago, before which a compass would have pointed to the south pole instead of the north pole::

"The most recent reversal occurred nearly 800,000 years ago at the start of the middle Pleistocene Chibanian Age. It is called the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal after the first scientists to identify and propose an age for Earth’s most recent magnetic reversal." "Earth's Flipping Poles" - Earth (opens in a new tab)

Obviously, none of us will be around to verify whether or not the Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Sun and the Moon will all return to the same place in our skies 811000 years from now, or whether our magnetic poles will be reversed. Yet, if this should be the case, one can only hope this book will survive in whatever shape or form long enough to be recognized by distant future generations as a pioneering work in its own right. I, for one, will be popping a fine bottle of bubbly up in the heavens!

In the next chapter, we shall keep our feet firmly anchored on Earth and see if the TYCHOS can shed light on the puzzling and purportedly ‘chaotic’ behavior of Jupiter and Saturn, a pesky issue of astronomy known as ‘the Great Inequality’.