The objections in the context of AV observation follow a familiar pattern, experienced by each advancing theory proposed in the area of Modern Cosmology.
The objections, from the astronomy point of view, for AV observations fall under these buckets:
(1) Objections are raised for the very definition of ‘What is ahead’ and ‘What is behind’ in the context of stellar objects (as viewed from the Earth). These objections, mostly, are raised to avoid getting into staggering consequences due to de-mystification of AV observation.
My response: A sincere person can find much help from any ordinary book on astronomy and/or internet based resources to understand various movements of astral objects (planets, stars, comets, etc.)
(2) The second objection refers to rationale for Vyasa mentioning ‘Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha’, an ordinary phenomenon during the Epoch of Arundhati (11091 BCE – 4508 BCE). What was so dramatic about this incident (which was occurring for ~5000 years prior to the year of Mahabharata War- 5561 BCE) that compelled Vyasa to mention it?
My Response: We will explore this question further (in future parts) when we look at ‘Omen’ aspect of AV observation. However unnecessary puzzlement of those asking this questions would simply go away if they care to read the Mahabharata text. Vyasa had listed numerous dramatic and not so dramatic astronomy observations of his times (specifically around the time of Mahabharata War) and by my count they amount to over 200 astronomy observations (all neatly documented with original Sanskrit in my book). Thus, an observation ought to be a dramatic one is rather confused (and unnecessary) demand/requirement of those asking such questions, not that of Vyasa.
(3) What was the visual separation between Arundhati and Vasistha at the time of Mahabharata War? Was it sufficient for an astronomer to make such observation with a naked eye? If the separation was not sufficient, are you (meaning the author – myself – Nilesh Oak) claiming existence of telescopic vision/equipment/technology during Mahabharata times?
My Response: As far as scientific theory is concerned, Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha by 1 arc-sec would have been sufficient. For those not familiar with ‘arc-sec’, area occupied by the disk of full moon (or sun) is about 0.5 degree which is ~ 30 arc-min (or 1800 arc-sec). The point is the actual distance by which Arundhati walked ahead of Vasistha is immaterial to the consequence of a theory.. however walk Arundhati must, ahead of Vasistha, for my theory of visual astronomy observation to be valid. Afterall deviation of light predicted due to the presence of Sun (gravitational lens) for the famous solar eclipse experiment (1919 CE) that corroborated Einstein’s theoy was only 1.7 arc-sec; and deviation (against prediction due to theory of circular orbits of planets) of only 8 arc-min made Johannes Kepler to question the theory of cicular orbits, which in turn created revolution in modern cosmology.
Now the numbers. At its peak of separation (with A ahead of V), Arundhati was ahead of Vasistha by about 500 arc-sec (8 arc-min).
This would be sufficient for an astronomer to observe (in theory and principle) with a naked eye, naked eye resolution (for 20/20 eyesight) being about 1 arc-min.
Of course telescopes would have helped. Frankly, I prefer to observe AV pair via binocular I have (and of course also via telescope).
And while not relevant (at least in the context of AV observation), there is no need for ‘claiming’ telescopic ability. One may simply assume it and that is very fine and scientific. It will be a long explanation for those who might be confused by previous two statements and thus I will leave the topic by encouraging them to read more on Philosophy of Science and logic of Scientific discoveries. (One is not allowed to ask questions such as “so, how does two massive bodies in space attract each other without any connecting rope between them” and “how is it possible for a space/time to bend?” without contributing successful theory of their own). Science or history are not spectator sports.
(4) Ok, may be AV observation was not a dramatic observation in 5561 BCE (this being a regular phenomena in 5561 BCE). Still, why would this might have been a big deal for Vyasa to mention it?
My reeponse:This question can be answered (and already being answered by me multiple times). Of course I will answer it again in future sections with resulting (astounding) implications for the antiquity and ancient tradition of detailed and meticulous astronomy tradition in India, that goes way past, beyond Holocene. We are better off waiting for good stuff.
In next part, I will summarize astronomy inferences due to AV observation, along with response to question #4.
However, curious reader may sharpen his/her appetite by reading the following blog article I wrote sometime ago: