Tilted Equator? - [Le site d'Irna]

Tilted Equator?

Article published on 29 August 2013

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As readers who have seen the film documentary, The Revelation of the Pyramids, will be aware, one of the principal ideas presented by the authors, Patrice Pooyard and Jacques Grimault, is that of the existence of a "tilted equator" that, inclined at 30° to the equator, links up some of the most important "sacred sites" on the planet.

We will not spend too long on detailing all the problems associated with this idea: links between sites of completely different ages; vagueness of criteria on what constitutes a site; important sites ignored; the pole of this "tilted equator" assimilated by Jacques Grimault with the geomagnetic pole, despite the fact that the real geomagnetic pole is several thousand kilometers away [1] ... What interests me here is rather the reaction of certain "fans" of the film, who believe that two model globes, one located at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, and the other in the garden of the Great Explorers, Avenue de l’Observatoire, in Paris, provide confirmation of the existence of this "tilted equator", possible evidence of a conspiracy or secret transmission of occult knowledge.

The discussion in question takes place on the forum devoted to the film (fr), where one of the contributors reproduces photos posted on another forum (fr). The band inclined across the globe in the photo is immediately understood to be "the tilted equator". Whilst making clear that they are not talking about a conspiracy theory, the forum contributors suspect, “incredible though it might seem,” that there is some esoteric explanation, and that, on the original discussion thread, there is "no possible doubt" about this oblique band being the same as the tilted equator in the film.

The inclined band in question, which gives "goose-bumps” to the author of one comment on the authors’ Facebook page (fr), appears on a terrestrial globe [2] on the roof of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco:

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As you can see, the "tilted equator" on this globe is actually a zodiac, that is to say, the twelve (astrological) or thirteen (astronomical) constellations, through which lies the apparent annual path of the sun. The "tilt" of the zodiac is not the result of chance - let alone the result of a conspiracy or some antediluvian transmission of occult knowledge: it is simply the result of Earth/Sun system geometry.

Earth is driven by rotational movement: it is this movement which, responsible for the alternation of night and day, also defines the two poles (the two extremities of the axis of rotation) and the equator (the great circle equidistant from the two poles). The second movement of the earth is its annual revolution around the sun; this movement, as in the case of almost all the other planets of the solar system, is accomplished on a plane known as the ecliptic plane:

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The axis of rotation (polar axis) of the Earth is not vertical to this ecliptic plane, but slightly oblique; that is to say, the plane of the equator, and the ecliptic plane, are not one and the same: the angle between these two planes is 23° 27’.

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If we now adopt a geocentric point of view, and imagine the sky as a celestial sphere whose centre is the Earth (this geocentric position is very useful for representing stars as viewed from Earth), we can define:
- the celestial poles as extensions of the terrestrial geographic poles;
- the celestial equator as corresponding to the circle where the plane of the terrestrial equator intersects the celestial sphere;
- and the ecliptic, corresponding with the circle where the ecliptic plane intersects the celestial sphere:

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Obviously, the celestial equator and the ecliptic are separated by the same angle of 23° 27‘.

Because the Earth orbits the Sun on the plane of the ecliptic, the path of the Sun, as seen from Earth over the course of a year, therefore appears to us to be following the ecliptic; and the zodiacal constellations, whether in the astrological or astronomical meaning of the term, are those that straddle the ecliptic:

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On most representations of the Earth or the whole Earth / Sun system, the ecliptic plane is generally shown as a horizontal plane, the polar axis being tilted over; but sometimes, as is the case on the representation above, the polar axis is depicted vertically. In this case, the ecliptic forms a circle inclined at 23° 27’, and the zodiac forms a band with the same angle of inclination, which therefore has no connection with a “tilted equator” of 30°.

No mystery, therefore, about the globe at Monaco and its zodiacal representation; the only slightly unusual aspect here is the representation of the ecliptic and the zodiac directly on the surface of our planet. Unusual, but not unique, as demonstrated by this example of a 1964 school globe, where a blue circle corresponding to the ecliptic is drawn directly on the globe, with an angle of 23° 27’ with respect to the equator:

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or these eighteenth century English globes from the Royal Museum of Greenwich:

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The second “goosebumps” model comes from Fontaine Carpeaux, or "Fountain of the Four Parts of the World", opened in 1874 in Paris, at the avenue de l’Observatoire:

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The explanation of this model is exactly the same: an angle of inclination of 23° 27‘ with respect to the horizontal, because the sculptor chose to represent the polar axis as vertical. The only difference is that, this time, the zodiac is not represented on the globe, but outside it, that is to say, on the celestial sphere:

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This sculpture is actually a schematic representation of an armillary sphere - a well known astronomical symbol, which fits in rather neatly with the Avenue de l’Observatoire [3]!

An armillary sphere, even in its simplest form (fr), consists of:
- A fixed horizontal circle, and a manoeuvrable vertical semi-circle, thus assisting the calculation of the horizontal coordinates of a celestial body (or local coordinates, as the latter are linked to the observer’s local horizon);
- A movable central assembly, comprising the Earth and various metal circles, enabling the use of two coordinate systems for the stars: equatorial coordinates, where the references are formed by the celestial poles and the celestial equator; and ecliptic coordinates, using the ecliptic plane as a reference.

Any armillary sphere will therefore include the polar axis, the celestial meridians, and the celestial equator; as well as the ecliptic, whether in the form of a simple circle, or as the band of the zodiac:

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Obviously, since the central portion is movable (so that the sphere can be adjusted depending on the observer’s location), the polar axis can occupy any position. All that the observer has to do is simply set the polar axis in a vertical position (as if he was at the pole), and he will find himself looking at a "tilted equator" - sorry, an ecliptic oblique by 23° 27‘:

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This representation of an armillary sphere with an oblique ecliptic is nothing unusual – in Portugal, it is even quite common, appearing on the national coat of arms (as well as the former flag of Brazil), in recognition of the great fifteenth century navigators:

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It is used as a decorative element in many monuments in Portugal:

Monastère de Batalha, Estramadure
Monastery of Batalha, Estremadura - Source
Praça do municipio à Lisbonne
Praça do municipio in Lisbon - Source
Cloître du couvent Notre-Dame de la Conception à Beja (Alentejo)
Cloister of the Convent of Our Lady of the Conception in Beja (Alentejo) - Source
Tour de Belem à Lisbonne
Belem Tower in Lisbon - Source

and even ... worn as a pendant:

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Or should we assume that Portugal (which is not yet on the "tilted equator!") is the lost heir to the "civilization of builders" so dear to the heart of Mr. Grimault? Whatever: the famous photos were published on the LRDP forum back in May, but Mr. Grimault has still not bothered to comment on the subject, or correct his admirers’ misapprehensions ...


Update - A question in the comments of the French version of this article made me add a few precisions:

I have two questions on this subject, but can’t be bothered to find the answers, and as you have done so much good work on this topic, Irna.....

- When was the ecliptic first known?

- Does the ecliptic plane pass through the famous sites shown in LRDP? In the photos you use as illustrations, some (including the English globes) show a path much lower than Pooyart’s, so its route doesn’t pass through the Giza Plateau.

Moreover, it would have made it clearer if you could have shown the LRDP path next to the path shown on more modern globes.

And if I was going to be Mr. Naïve Innocent, I could say that the LRDP tilted equator is just aligned with the plane of the ecliptic; these would not be two different planes, but proof that Grimault is right ....

My answer:

When was the ecliptic first known?

I would say since at least the middle of the first millennium BC, that is to say, from the identification of the Zodiac. The ancient Greeks were already using the armillary sphere, and the Babylonians, without adopting the concept of an "ecliptic plane," had identified what they called "the path of Anu" for stars rising in the intersolstitial region.

- Does the ecliptic plane pass through the famous sites shown in LRDP? In the photos you use as illustrations, some (including the English globes) show a path much lower than Pooyart’s, so its route doesn’t pass through the Giza Plateau.

And if I was going to be Mr. Naive Innocent, I could say that the LRDP tilted equator is just aligned with the plane of the ecliptic; these would not be two different planes, but proof that Grimault is right ....

It is absolutely impossible to match up the path of Grimault’s "tilted equator", whose angle of tilt is 30° to the equator, with the path of the ecliptic, which is inclined at 23° to the equator!

Also, drawing the ecliptic on a terrestrial globe does not make much sense, which is, incidentally, why this type of globe is rather rare. In the geocentric reference system, the ecliptic has to be considered as a fixed plane; so each point on the planet located between latitudes 23° N and 23° S – i.e., between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer - will, during the 24 hours of the earth’s daily rotation, pass twice through the ecliptic plane. For example, one location on the equator will spend twelve hours above this plane, and twelve hours below it (see diagram http://irna.lautre.net/IMG/png/Obliquite_plan_ecliptique.png ... and imagine the movement of a point on the equator during a 24-hour period). As against this, a point located, say, north of the Tropic of Cancer, would never come into the ecliptic plane (as is the case for Giza, at 30° N).

On the 1964 globe, or on the 18th century English globes, you would have to imagine the line of the ecliptic, not as attached to the globe and turning with it, but as independent of the globe, and fixed; while the globe itself continues rotating on its axis.

In short: no, it is impossible for Grimault’s "tilted equator" to be identified with the ecliptic :)

It should also be borne in mind that, on many occasions, including during the film, Grimault has made it clear that this “tilted equator” is to be considered as located in relation to the geomagnetic pole. This is also why the tilted equator depicted in the film is so important as far as we are concerned: because it’s telling us that the impending disaster is linked to a reversal of the magnetic field. As I explained briefly above, the "pole" of Grimault’s tilted equator does not, however, correspond to any real pole, whether geographic, magnetic, or geomagnetic ...

For further information, a pdf in French on the birth of the zodiac in Mesopotamia http://www.uranos.fr/PDF/SOM_FR_44_T1.pdf

And for even more information (in English this time), Gary Thompson’s extremely informative site on astronomy in antiquity: http://members.westnet.com.au/Gary-David-Thompson/index.html

Notes :

[1The geomagnetic pole, which is neither the geographical pole, nor the moving magnetic pole, is a virtual pole corresponding to the end of the earth’s magnetic dipole (fr) (scroll down to “Several North Poles”). The North Geomagnetic Pole is located on the west coast of Greenland, while the imaginary Jacques Grimault pole is located in southern Alaska, near Yakutat Bay ...

[2There are actually two identical spheres, each located at the very end of a wing of the museum.

[3“Avenue of the Observatory” – trans.
Unfortunately, the sculptor did make a mistake: the symbols of the zodiac are not in the correct succession! See "La Fontaine de l’Observatoire, ou l’Astronomie défigurée" by Paul Muller, in L’Astronomie, vol. 93, March 1979, p. 113: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/seri/LAstr/0093//0000115.000.html

P.S. :

A blog post in Against Jebel al-Lawz showing the fundamental flaws in the concept of a "tilted equator" connecting an arbitrary selection of archaeological sites: The Equator in “The Revelation of the Pyramids”.


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