Strange happenings in the sky over the Touraine ~ 1670 ~ can you shed any light?


Well, who can explain the story behind the image below of happenings in the sky above the Touraine during the 5th to the 15th August, 1670?

I have no idea if the blazing planks represent comets or meteors ~ but certainly the warring armies in the heavens have got to indicate that there was either a lot of noise associated with the incident or, perhaps, that the gods had fallen out.

I’ve asked my Touraine-based astronomer friend Colin Dyson, but he’s no idea. So, do you have any suggestions? If so, do share.

Représentation d'un phénomène épouvantable que l'on a vu en Touraine du 5 au 15 août 1670

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About Jim McNeill

I am a blogger on 'The Social History of the Touraine region of France (37)' and also 'The Colonial History of Pennsylvania and the life & Family of William Penn'. I am a Director of Sweet Training Learning Consultancy Ltd. I'm about to open L'Union Bar in Paulmy, Loire Valley, France (37) in 2012 with my wife, Sandra.
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7 Responses to Strange happenings in the sky over the Touraine ~ 1670 ~ can you shed any light?

  1. Mauran says:

    If you read the german comment, and refering to other report of this event, it did not last from 5 to 15th August. The 15th is the date under gregorian calendar, the 5th under julian calendar. Gregorian calendar was in place for catholic countries, julian for protestant ones.

  2. drofmit4108 says:

    I’m not getting any image, Jim, just the image marker!?
    The blazing planks could be the re-entry debris from the July 1670 Chinese Moon-probe ;-)

  3. Jim McNeill says:

    Hi Col – I knew you’d come up trumps. I presume fire balls wouldn’t have lasted 10-11 days so I’m going with supernova – unless someone else comes up with an equally convincing theory for the fighting armies and flying planks. Cheers.

    • Thinking about it, I feel that the Perseid meteor shower is the most likely explanation. Some years can have very intense displays resulting in hundreds of sitings per hour and could of easily provoked panic and confusion. The displays would have easily lasted from 5th to 15th August. The 1972 display was the most intense in recorded astronomy and caused some alarm because of it’s Day of the Triffids like qualities! So it is not just French peasants who are freaked out by the heavens!

      • Jim McNeill says:

        Thanks for that, Col ~ great knowledge and any mention of John Wyndam books is always welcome. When are you going to organise an astronomy evening at yours – with fine foods and wine? Or, would you do it at L’Union, Paulmy when it reopens?
        See you next week in the UK.

  4. Hmm a little research suggests that it could be a reference to the first observed supernova in Europe by Voituret Anthelme a Carthusian monk who did some work in astronomy. He discovered and observed Nova 1670 Vulpeculae, the first ordinary nova discovered in modern times, later also named CK Vulpeculae. Alternatively it could have just been fireballs – daylight firey debris from a meteorite, the two fires representing the meteor breaking a part in the atmosphere. A fireball is something spotted by my own son, Aiden a few years ago at our house near Montresor. Some readers of this blog will know that a Touraine pleasure is observing the Perseids in August (peak 12th and 13th), happy viewing.

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