An earth-shattering event – well, not exactly earth-shattering in the true sense of the word – occurred on 4th August 1642. The town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, England, or Alborow as it was spelled back then, played host to this astronomical escapade.
A 4lb meteorite fell from the sky at 5 O’clock – five of the clock as it was described back then – in the afternoon. It was described as ‘a sign from heaven, or a fearful and terrible noise’ that was ‘heard in the air’, and it was ‘attested by many men of good worth’.
It was only a few inches across by the time it crashed into the ground, but according to the eyewitness accounts it made its presence known by the noise it was making. The noise was compared to the sounds of battle that would have been heard occasionally as the Civil War was waged across England, although Suffolk didn’t really see that many battles during the war.
Around the beginning of August is the time of the Iota Aquariids Meteor Shower, which are only visible in the early hours, so it seems unlikely that the Alborow meteorite was part of this shower (unless it had been delayed for some reason and hurtled it’s way to Earth in an effort to catch up to the others!)
The Aquariids (actually, the eta Aquariids, that appear earlier in the year) are linked to Halley’s Comet which returns to Earth every 76 years or so. Halley’s Comet appeared twice in the Seventeenth Century, in 1607 (27th October) and 1682 (15th September), and also made a dramatic appearance way back in 1066. Edmond Halley calculated the comet’s return every 76 years, and Edmond was friends with Isaac Newton, who was born in 1642.
Meanwhile, back in 1642, the folk were treated to two different astronomical events: Total Lunar Eclipses; the first on 15th April and the second on 8th October. Incidentally, in 1642BC two Total Lunar Eclipses occurred then also, on 12th April and 5th October. And in 1968, the year Aquatom came into existence, another two Total Lunar Eclipses occurred; on 13th April and 6th October. Total Lunar Eclipses are very common events when you look back over time, but they don’t occur every April and October. Could this be a celestial sign confirming that I am on the right track for my quest? I chose the name Aquatom long before I had heard of the Aquariids, so there is another link there.
I think my fascination with 1642, the Universe and my dreams are all connected, and the reason I started my quest was to try and find the connection. The more information I find, however random, abstract, or coincidental it may be, makes me even more interested in the period. The information doesn’t supply me with the answer that I am looking for though, and as such, my quest must continue.
I’m finding my search through history to be very enlightening, interesting, and entertaining. My search – my quest – is also helping me to feel good. And I really like feeing good!