The Great Pyramid: Measures of Time And the Precession of the Equinoxes (cont.)
By Richard E. Ford
Precession of the Equinoxes and its Measurement
First off, it needs to be categorically stated that observing the effects of precession in the star patterns that are visible in the heavens above the point of sunrise during twilight on the morning of the vernal equinox is not practical, and measuring it is out of the question. The stars are visible for quite some time during twilight and there is no fixed frame of reference with which to observe them from in order to compare their measurements from year to year. If observations were made over thousands and thousands of years, all that could be said is that the stars visible just before dawn on the vernal equinox were slowly changing. There is a far more accurate and easier method for observing and measuring precession, and it no doubt was the same one followed by the ancient Egyptians. It simply involves measuring LAN on the vernal equinox over successive years and marking the event on the star charts and tables as described above.
When the exact instant of the vernal equinox LAN is observed and timed, and then entered onto the star charts and tables, it becomes readily apparent that there is a discrepancy of some 20 minutes and 24 seconds from the time of the previous year's observation. With clocks designed to measure within fractions of a second this is very significant. And if there was some concern about human error possibly having contributed to the discrepancy, an observation of the event the following year would have removed all doubt. LAN was occurring 20 minutes and 24 seconds sooner than the sidereal clock called for and no matter how many times successive LAN observations were made, there was an almost constant difference between the Sun's sidereal year (365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.54 seconds) and its tropical year (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45.51 seconds) of 20 minutes and 24 seconds. (Recall that the sidereal year is the measure of time between the vernal equinox LAN meridian, as marked on the star charts and tables, and the return of this meridian to that same position one year later. Also recall that the tropical year is the measure of time between successive occurrences of the Sun's LAN on the vernal equinox.) This is a precise measure of both the sidereal and tropical years, which leads to a precise measure of precession. By entering successive occurrences of vernal equinox LAN on the star charts and tables, it can readily be seen that the background stars are changing, as the event regresses through the 12 houses or signs of the band of the zodiac-72 years per degree, 2,160 years per sign, 4,320 years for two signs, etc., until vernal equinox LAN returns to its original starting point 25,920 years later.
If all of this sounds complicated, it's not; it's merely a detailed explanation for a procedure that is very straightforward and the very essence of simplicity. The first step requires an observer to note the exact instant when the Sun reaches a maximum altitude of 60° above the horizon at the Great Pyramid's location in the spring, and to mark both the solar and sidereal time clocks. The time on the sidereal time clock is then entered onto the star charts and tables, and corrected to 00:00. The sidereal clocks are reset to 00:00 also. Thereafter, all star observations are timed from the vernal equinox LAN meridian, 00:00, going forward. Then, when the Sun again reaches a maximum altitude of 60° from the Pyramid's location the following spring, the whole process is repeated.
The time span between the two readings on the solar clock is the length of the tropical or solar year. Meanwhile, the time showing on the sidereal clock will be 23 hours, 39 minutes, and 33 seconds, as the location for the previous vernal equinox LAN meridian is still some 20 minutes and 27 seconds east of the Great Pyramid's meridian. This difference between the time observed for the most recent vernal equinox LAN on the sidereal clock and the location of the previous vernal equinox LAN meridian, as marked on the star charts and tables, is precession-20 minutes, 27 seconds ( 20 minutes, 24 seconds of solar time). It is that simple.
So, where then is the proof in the Great Pyramid that the ancient Egyptians knew of and measured the precession of the equinoxes? It is in the Pyramid's diagonals. On a flat projection map of the Earth, with the Great Pyramid's location at 30°-00' North latitude and 31°-09' East longitude marked off, if a line is drawn perpendicular from the Pyramid's location to the equator, the measure of this line is a distance of 1,800 geographic miles (6,000'/mile; 60 miles/degree of latitude). Then, if the Pyramid's diagonals are extended from the Pyramid's location down to the equator, the measure of the distance marked off by the intersection of the diagonals with the equator is a distance of 3,600 geographic miles.
This distance, 3,600 miles, leads to several relevant facts. It is 1/6th of the circumference of the Earth, or 60° of its equatorial arc. (There's that number 60 again that is associated with the equilateral triangle!) But more importantly for our purposes, the distance marked off by the diagonals also marks 1/6th of the Great Year or 4,320 years, which is two ages of the band of the zodiac. There's the proof, and since the Pyramid's diagonals mark off this measure of 4,320 years on the equator, precisely where the Sun stands on the vernal equinox when all critical measurements of time were and still are made, it would seem to be definitive.
This number-4,320-is widely recognized as a universal sign or marker for precession and the Great Year throughout the ancient world. (For an excellent summary of the attention paid to this number by ancient cultures, see Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods, Crown Publishing; Part V, "Mystery of the Myths: 2. The Precessional Code" and Chapter 48, "Earth Measurers.") This number is evidence that the ancient Egyptians not only knew of the precession and could measure it with precision, it further demonstrates that the location of the Great Pyramid was not chosen randomly or by chance. The ancient Egyptians knew precisely where they wanted it located and it was with these measurements of time in mind, among others, that they placed the Pyramid there.
Why the seeming fascination with the number 4,320 held by many of the ancient cultures? I believe it is one of the principal factors in a system of universal datum that they devised to integrate all measures for time, distance, weight, etc. with one another. They considered the system perfect and to have derived from a divine plan or order in the universe. They also believed that if God had touched the elements of creation, then the universe would have conformed to this system and it would have been perfect. Instead, he entrusted creation to the lesser gods, and because of this it was not created perfect. In Egyptian mythological terms, it was Ptah who designed the universe, but it was Atum-Re who created it according to the plans devised by Ptah. However, all of this, though important, is a subject that might best be addressed at another time.