ISS Crosses the Sky above Prehistoric Paintings of Pala Pinta Rock Shelter

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The image reveals a starry trailed sky while the International Space Station ISS was crossing the background sky in front of Pala Pinta rock shelter in Alijó, in the newly created Dark Sky Vale do Tua. Experts believe that this paintings can date back to the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), and they invoke the real sighting of a comet, thus being able to constitute the oldest human record of an astronomical event of this type. According to an article published in May 2014 issue of National Geographic Portugal, “the search for a suspicious comet constituted Tiago Pessoa’s master’s work. Accepting Paulo Lima’s conjectures as valid and based on the orbital parameters of comets known, mathematically reversed their orbits, taking into account the window of the firmament that can be seen from the shelter, and identified more than a thousand comets that would pass through there, in the defined chronological interval: from 5500 BC to year 0 – an extended period due to the inexistence of a reference date for the paintings. “Excluding those where there is no information about their absolute magnitudes (brightness), I reached 680 comets. Finally, I identified four suspects: the comet Kowal-Vavrova, visible under the sky from the shelter for 59 days in 1421 BC, comet Biela, visible for 63 days in 2365 BC, comet Väisälä 1 visible for 61 days in 3784 BC and comet P / 2004 VR8 which, en among all, is the one whose trajectory is most similar to that inferred from the paintings of the shelter that will have remained visible for 143 days in 4626 B.C. ”, says Tiago Pessoa.” However, it could have been one of these four comets, but may also have been another that we do not know or that is even extinct. Currently, the thesis has been proposed that the engravings allude to the real sighting of a comet.

PT: A imagem revela um céu estrelado arrastado enquanto a Estação Espacial Internacional ISS cruza o céu em frente ao abrigo rupestre de Pala Pinta, em Alijó, no recém criado Dark Sky Vale do Tua. Especialistas acreditam que estas gravuras poderão remontar ao Calcolítico (Idade do Cobre), e que as mesmas fazem a invocação ao real avistamento de um cometa, podendo assim constituir o mais antigo registo humano de um evento astronómico deste tipo. De acordo com um artigo publicado na edição de Maio de 2014, na revista National Geographic Portugal, “a procura de um cometa suspeito constituiu o trabalho de mestrado de Tiago Pessoa. Aceitando como válidas as conjecturas de Paulo Lima e baseando-se nos parâmetros orbitais dos cometas conhecidos, reverteu matematicamente as suas órbitas, tendo em conta a janela do firmamento que se avista do abrigo, e identificou mais de mil cometas que por aí transitariam no intervalo cronológico definido: de 5500 a.C. ao ano 0 – um período alargado em virtude da inexistência de uma datação de referência para as pinturas. “Desses, excluindo aqueles onde não há informação sobre as suas magnitudes absolutas (brilho), cheguei a 680 cometas. Identifiquei, por fim, quatro suspeitos: o cometa Kowal-Vavrova, visível sob o céu do abrigo por 59 dias em 1421 a.C., o cometa Biela, visível por 63 dias em 2365 a.C., o cometa Väisälä 1 visível por 61 dias em 3784 a.C. e o cometa P/2004 VR8 que, entre todos, é aquele cuja trajectória mais se assemelha à inferida a partir das pinturas do abrigo que se terá mantido visível por 143 dias em 4626 a.C.”, refere Tiago Pessoa.” No entanto, apesar de pode ter sido um destes quatro cometas, também poderá ter sido outro que não conhecemos ou que até já se encontre extinto. Actualmente, já foi proposta a tese de que as gravuras aludem ao real avistamento de um cometa.


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