§ 613.Herschel's universe, Discovery of Neptune and French Interregnum

19th century:
§613. Herschel's universe (1785), Discovery of Neptune (1846) and French Interregnum (1848): IV-33.

IV-33:
Jupiter joining Venus more closely than the Moon
Appearing in its white plenitude:
Venus hidden, Neptune under the whiteness,
Hit by Mars across the grainy branch.


(Jupiter joint plus Venus qu'à la Lune
Apparoissant de plenitude blanche:
Venus cachée soubs la blancheur Neptune,
De Mars frappé par la granée branche.)

Keys to the reading:
plus Venus: Ellipsis for plus à Venus (Ionescu, 1976, p.697);

de Mars frappé: « According to the language of the astrologers, the words 'being in difficulty' means exclusively 'opposition'.» (Centurio, 1953, p.95);

la granée branche: The French adjective 'grané' may have two senses, «ladre, en parlant d'un porc (suffering from bladder worms, cysticerci)» (Godefroy) or «grainy (Lat. graneus)». And the expression 'la granée branche' can indicate through its double sense: 'the branch outlined like a bladder' and 'the grainy branch' the characteristic image often called 'Herschel's universe', outlined like a bladder or compiled branches and fully containing innumerable small black spots like grains, which represents a section, nearly vertical, of the Galaxy, proposed by Sir William Herschel in 1785 and positively confirmed in its essence 140 years later by Edwin Hubble.

Herschel says, «Hitherto the sidereal heavens have, not inadequately for the purpose designed, been represented by the concave surface of a sphere, in the center of which the eye of an observer might be supposed to be placed. A surface of a globe or map will but ill delineate the interior parts of the heavens.» (Herschel, I, p.157-158)

«A very remarkable circumstance attending the nebulae and clusters of stars is, that they are arranged into strata, which seem to run on to a great length... the milky way, which undoubtedly is nothing but a stratum of fixed stars. It is very probable, that the great stratum, called the milky way, is that in which the sun is placed, though perhaps not in the very center of its thickness.» (id., p.160)

«We may see that our nebula is a very extensive, branching, compound Congeries of many millions of stars.» (id., p.252) Cf. his Figure 4 (id., p.251).

In this context, Ionescu's adoption of a variant with no bibliographic support 'la gravée blanche' (a white gravel) is wrong, though his conclusion of 'the Milky Way' is correct (cf. Ionescu, 1976, p.697f.);

par la granée branche: Across the Milky Way whose axis is from Gemini to Sagitarius. Cf. Ionescu, 1983, p.224: «this axis of Gemini to Sagitarius being cut almost at right angles by the opposition Mars - Neptune».

Summary and Discussion:
This quatrain seems to be essentially lighted by Centurio (1953, p.94-95), followed by Ionescu (1976; 1983) and by Guinard (2000-2011), when he writes: « Before the German astronomer Gall at his Berlin Observatory on the 23rd of September, 1846, had recognized the planet, which had been predicted to him by a French astronomer Leverrier, an Englishman had become aware of it, but he held it to be a Nova, i.e., a new fixed star unknown till then. This discovery, almost by chance, of the planet Neptune, which was seen for the first time by an English astronomer Challis on the 4th and the 12th of August, 1846, Nostradamus describes with its essential or indeed very remarkable circumstances that may indicate the point of time. Challis could not progress without hindrance his first observation of a supposed Nova further, because the full Moon of the 7th of August, 1846, prevented him from doing so. This is what Nostradamus relates with no possibility of misunderstanding; the weak light of the long-distance planet came litterally within the full brightness of the Moon... And it is unthinkable to refill a falling comma before Neptune, because the full Moon cannot cover the planet Venus, which is found always in the vicinity of the Sun.»

Generally speaking, the astronomical conditions roughly described in the quatrain can indicate many possible dates including that of the 7th of August, 1846. And practically, it is recommendable that we should adopt the first of the theoretically possible and predictable conjunctions of Neptune with the full Moon after its discovery and naming, because one cannot refer to any conjunction of a planet named Neptune not yet discovered and identified with the full Moon.

Therefore, the case proposed by Centurio, namely that of the 7th of August, 1846 is invalid and to be excluded, Neptune being not yet discovered and identified by anyone at the moment.

The lucky fact of observation of Neptune by Challis on the 4th and the 12th of August, 1846, was confirmed only in retrospect, and it is on the 23rd, or most precisely at the very beginning (0h 15min) of the 24th of September, 1846, that the German astronomers Galle and D'Arrest at the Berlin Observatory found the planet at last, after having received previous evening a letter from the French mathematician Leverrier communicating his final prediction of the position of the supposed planet.(cf. Kollerstrom, 2011).

Now, there would be no astronomer who dares to survey the night sky near the Full Moon except for a special purpose, and there is no astronomical failure where there is no obserbation of the sky. So, during the full Moon and its surrounding days Challis must have stopped surveying the sky, then it is not due to the full Moon that Challis could not progress his research.

In fact, he seized the object in the sky on the 4th and the 12th of August, 1846, just immediately before and after the full Moon of the 7th of the month.

The recent historical investigations about the event of discovery of Neptune tells us that Challis failed in recognizing the planet because of the lack of precision of the calculated prediction of the position of the supposed planet supplied to him by his colleague Adams, whereas the eminent precision of the prediction calculated by the French mathematician Leverrier made it exceedingly easy for the German staff at Berlin to identify the new planet immediately after their receiving the letter of prediction from Leverrier. And the naming of the new planet as Neptune was made upon the proposal of it by Leverrier himself in his letters dated the 1st of October, 1846, addressed to European observatories. Challis and Adams proposed their idea of the name Oceanus ten days after in vain. (cf. Kollerstrom, 2011).

Thus, the event of discovery and naming of Neptune was especially the French prize and an English remorse.

Why the French prophet Nostradamus needs to take in consideration a scientific failure of the English with Herschel's merit on the Galaxy in this quatrain to the disfavor of his compatriots in neglecting the latter ?

We should prefer an interpretation of this quatrain granting the supreme merit of the French mathematician Leverrier in the event, which is already implied in the verses with the too explicit announcement of the name of the new planet Neptune.

This nominal demonstration does presuppose the truly effected discovery, identification and naming of Neptune, through which we can refer for the first time to a conjunction of Neptune with the full Moon as described in the quatrain; the theme of the quatrain IV-33 is a conjunction of this sort itself, not the failure of the English astronomical team. And the first of these conjunctions immediately after the dates of its discovery and naming would be the most appropiate for the quatrain, recollecting the vivid memory of the event, and the most fascinating to the world, deserving also a predictive mention of Nostradamus.

Then, the first possible and predictable conjunction of Neptune with the full Moon accompanied by the circumstances described in the quatrain after the dates of its discovery and naming is that of the night of the 14th of August, 1848.

Moreover, this date is pregnant with political nuances, especially meaningful to France in the interregnum between the collapse of the July monarchy (February) and the entry of the President Louis-Napoleon (December).
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© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2011. All rights reserved.
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Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 219 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§949).

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