Scientists finally understand why the moon suddenly disappeared from the sky in the year 1110

Fareeha Arshad
Photo by Victor Kallenbach on Unsplash

Over millennia ago, a massive sulfur cloud suddenly engulfed our planet’s atmosphere. As a result, the planet remained in darkness for years that followed. Finally, several years later, these sulfur clouds settled down on the surface.

Recently, scientists dug out samples from ice sheets that hold sulfur aerosols released during volcanic eruptions. These ice sheets or glaciers can hide secrets from volcanic eruptions and preserve them for long durations. However, it is difficult exactly predict the time or date of the incident.

Recently, scientists discovered evidence of sulfur contents preserved in thin ice strips. Researchers speculated that these sulfur deposits were released during a massive volcanic eruption of 1104 by Iceland’s Hekla, the ‘Gateway to Hell’. However, this theory is not entirely true.

As per a research study published in the Scientific Reports by scientists from the University of Geneva, the sulfur content cannot be attributed to the Hekla volcanic event. The team thus investigated the historic chronological events to look for records of dark lunar eclipses from the past that could link to the significant eruptions within the stratosphere.

Such atmospheric optical occurrences have intrigued scientists, especially events involving bright lunar eclipses that hint at volcanic aerosols present within the stratospheric layer. As per NASA records, over seven lunar eclipse events could have happened between the first twenty years of the previous millennium. One of these seven was the one that possibly happened in May of 1110 when the Moon became unusually dark – almost as though it had vanished from the sky.

For a long time, this particular event baffled the scientists. Until recently, researchers did not think about the relation between the high sulfur content in the atmosphere and a volcanic eruption. Though the volcanic event of Hekla is no longer under investigation, a recent study suggests that the event involving the Mount Asama of Japan in 1108 could be the reason behind the high sulfur content and the dimming of the moon.

Several historical documents that provide details of the climatic and social impacts of the massive eruption between the years 1109-1111 clearly hint that the Amount Asama event could have perhaps been the reason behind the moon’s sudden disappearance from the sky.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

Texas State

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