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[Slashdot] - Moon's Mysterious Disappearance 900 Years Ago Finally Gets An Explanation

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Iwastheone shares a report from Live Science: There's no use sugar coating it: According to one scribe in medieval England, A.D. 1110 was a "disastrous year." Torrential rainfall damaged crops, famine stalked the land -- and, as if that wasn't bad enough, on one fateful night in May, the moon simply vanished from the sky. "On the fifth night in the month of May appeared the moon shining bright in the evening, and afterwards by little and little its light diminished," the unnamed scribe wrote in the Anglo-Saxon manuscript known as the Peterborough Chronicle. "As soon as night came, it was so completely extinguished withal, that neither light, nor orb, nor anything at all of it was seen. And so it continued nearly until day, and then appeared shining full and bright." So, what made the moon disappear in an already dismal year? According to a study published April 21 in the journal Scientific Reports, the explanation for both the moon's mysterious vanishing act and the rain-ravaged summer that followed may be one and the same -- volcanoes. "The spectacular atmospheric optical phenomena associated with high-altitude volcanic aerosols have caught the attention of chroniclers since ancient times," the study authors wrote. "Careful evaluation of ice core records points to the occurrence of several closely spaced volcanic eruptions," which may have occurred in Europe or Asia between A.D. 1108 and A.D. 1110. Those volcanic events, which the researchers call a "forgotten cluster" of eruptions because they were sparsely documented by historians at the time, may have released towering clouds of ash that traveled far around the world for years on end. Not only could a high-altitude veil of volcanic aerosols blot out the moon while leaving many stars unobscured, as the Peterborough writer described, but a series of large eruptions could have also disrupted the global climate, the researcher wrote, causing or exacerbated the cold, wet weather that made life so miserable in A.D. 1110. One such eruption, which occurred in Japan in A.D. 1108, could be to blame, the team said.

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