Synopses & Reviews
The Host of HeavenIn the beginning
God created the Heaven and the Earth.
The very concept of a beginning of all things is basic to modem astronomy and astrophysics. The statement that there was a void and chaos before there was order conforms to the very latest theories that chaos, not permanent stability, rules the universe. And then there is the statement about the bolt of light that began the process of creation.
Was this a reference to the Big Bang, the theory according to which the universe was created from a primordial explosion, a burst of energy in the form of light, that sent the matter from which stars and planets and rocks and human beings are formed flying in all directions and creating the wonders we see in the heavens and on Earth? Some scientists, inspired by the insights of our most inspiring source, have thought so. But then, how did ancient Man know the Big Bang theory so long ago? Or was this biblical tale the description of matters closer to home, of how our own little planet Earth and the heavenly zone called the Firmament, or "hammered-out bracelet," were formed?
Indeed, how did ancient Man come to have a cosmogony at all? How much did he really know, and how did he know it?
It is only appropriate that we begin the quest for answers where the events began to unfold -- in the heavens; where also, from time immemorial, Man has felt that his origins, higher values -- God, if you will -- are to be found. As thrilling as discoveries made by the use of microscopes are, it is what telescopes enable us to see that fills us with the realization of the grandeur of nature and the universe. Of all recent advances, the most impressive haveundoubtedly been the discoveries in the heavens surrounding our planet. And what staggering advances they have been! In a mere few decades we Earthlings have soared off the face of our planet; roamed Earth's skies hundreds of miles above its surface; landed on its solitary staellite, the Moon; and sent an array of unmanned spacecraft to probe our celestial neighbors, discovering vibrant and active worlds dazzling in their colors, features,, makeup, satellites, rings. For the first time, perhaps, we can grasp the meaning and feel the scope of the Psalmist's words: The heavens bespeak the glory of the Lord
and the vault of heaven reveals His handiwork.
A fantastic era of planetary exploration came to a magnificent climax when, in August 1989, the unmanned spacecraft designated "Voyager 2 flew by distant Neptune and sent back to Earth pictures and other data. Weighing just about a ton but ingeniously packed with television cameras, sensing and measuring equipment, a power source based on nuclear decay, transmitting antennas, and tiny computers (Fig. 1), it sent back whisperlike pulses that required more than four hours to reach Earth even at the speed of light. On Earth the pulses were captured by an array of radiotelescopes that form the Deep Space Network of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); then the faint signals were translated by electronic wizardry into photographs, charts, and other forms of data at the sophisticated facilities of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, which managed the project for NASA.
Launched in August 1977, twelve years before this final mission -- the visit to Neptune -- was accomplished, "Voyager 2and its companion, "Voyager 1, were originally intended to reach and scan only Jupiter and Saturn and augment data obtained earlier about those two gaseous giants by the "Pioneer 10 and "Pioneer 11 unmanned spacecraft. But with remarkable ingenuity and skill, the JPL scientists and technicians took advantage of a rare alignment of the outer planets and, using the gravitational forces of these planets as "slingshots," managed to thrust "Voyager 2 first from Saturn to Uranus and then from Uranus to Neptune.
Thus it was that for several days at the end of August 1989, headlines concerning another world pushed aside the usual news of armed conflicts, political upheavals, sports results, and market reports that make up Mankind's daily fare. For a few days the world we call Earth took time out to watch another world; we, Earthlings, were glued to our television sets, thrilled by closeup pictures of another planet, the one we call Neptune.
As the dazzling images of an aquamarine globe appeared on our television screens, the commentators stressed repeatedly that this was the first time that Man on Earth had ever really been able to see this planet, which even with the best Earthbased telescopes is visible only as a dimly lit spot in the darkness of space almost three billion miles from us. They reminded the viewers that Neptune was discovered only in 1846, after perturbations in the orbit of the somewhat nearer planet Uranus indicated the existence of another celestial body beyond it. They reminded us that no one before that -- neither Sir Isaac Newton nor Johannes Kepler, who between them discovered and laid down the laws of celestial motion in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries;neither Copernicus, who in the sixteenth century determined that the Sun, not the Earth, was in the center of our planetary system, nor Galileo, who a century later used a telescope to announce that Jupiter had four moons -- no great astronomer until the mid-nineteenth century and certainly no one in earlier times knew of Neptune. And thus not only the average TV viewer but the astronomers themselves were about to see what had been unseen before -- it would be the first time we would learn the true hues and makeup of Neptune.
Modern Technology . . . or Knowledge of the Ancients?
Space travel . . . Genetic engineering . . . Computer science . . . Astounding achievements as new as tomorrow. But stunning recent evidence proves that as these ultramodern advances were known to our forfathers millions of yrsterdays ago . . . as early as 3,000 years before the birth of Christ!
In this remarkable companion volume to his landmark EARTH CHRONICLES series, author Zecharia Sitchin reexamines the teachings of the ancients in the light of mankind's latest scientific discoveries -- and uncovers breathtaking, never-before-revealed facts that challenge long-held, conventional beliefs about our planet and our species.
About the Author
Zecharia Sitchin is an internationally acclaimed author and researcher whose books offer evidence that we are not alone in our own solar system. One of a handful of scholars able to read the Sumerian cuneiform tablets, he has combined archaeology, ancient texts, and the Bible with the latest scientific discoveries to retell the history and prehistory of mankind and planet Earth. His trailblazing books have been translated into more than twenty languages; his first one, an oft-quoted classic, celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its publication. A graduate of the University of London and a journalist and editor in Israel for many years, he now lives and writes in New York.