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"Estimations had been made for the timing of this poem in the past, but we were able to scientifically confirm the season that corresponds to her specific descriptions of the night sky in the year 570 B.C." Sappho's "Midnight Poem" describes a star cluster known as the Pleiades having set at around midnight, when supposedly observed by her from the Greek island of Lesbos.The 7,980 year cycle was derived by combining several traditional time cycles (solar, lunar, and a particular Roman tax cycle) for which 7,980 was a common multiple.
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However, the crater number relation must be calibrated against something with a known age.
To measure the passage of long periods of time, scientists take advantage of a regularity in certain unstable atoms.
Physicists and astronomers from the University of Texas at Arlington have used advanced astronomical software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho's "Midnight Poem," which describes the night sky over Greece more than 2,500 years ago.
The scientists described their research in the article "Seasonal dating of Sappho's 'Midnight Poem' revisited," published today in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage.
This image shows Maya animal constellations found in the Paris Codex.