Dennis Rawlins: Olbers’ Magic Square of Sky

Heinrich Olbers is best remembered for discovering Pallas and Vesta.

Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758-1840) was a German physician and astronomer.

On March 28, 1802, Olbers discovered and named the asteroid Pallas.

Five years later, on March 29, 1807, he discovered the asteroid Vesta, which he allowed Carl Friedrich Gauss to name.

As the word “asteroid” was not yet coined, the literature of the time referred to these minor planets as planets in their own right.

He proposed that the asteroid belt, where these objects lay, was the remnants of a planet that had been destroyed.

Olbers is best forgotten by Gradualists for his Missing Planet hypothesis.

Phaeton (or Phaëton) was the hypothetical planet theorized by the Titius–Bode law to have existed between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, the destruction of which supposedly led to the formation of the asteroid belt (including the dwarf planet Ceres).

The hypothetical planet was named for Phaethon, the son of the sun god Helios in Greek mythology, who attempted to drive his father’s solar chariot for a day with disastrous results and was ultimately destroyed by Zeus.

According to the now-discredited Titius–Bode law, a planet was believed to exist between Mars and Jupiter.

Ceres, the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt (now considered a dwarf planet), was serendipitously discovered in 1801 by the Italian Giuseppe Piazzi and found to closely match the “empty” position in Titius’ sequence, which led many to believe it to be the “missing planet”.

However, in 1802 astronomer Heinrich W.M. Olbers discovered and named the asteroid (2) Pallas, a second object in roughly the same orbit as (1) Ceres.

Olbers proposed that these two discoveries were the fragments of a disrupted planet that had formerly orbited the Sun, and predicted that more of these pieces would be found.

The discovery of the asteroid (3) Juno by Karl Ludwig Harding and (4) Vesta by Olbers, buttressed his hypothesis.

Phaethon was the son of the Oceanid Clymene and the solar deity Helios in Greek mythology. His name was also used by the Ancient Greeks as an alternative name for the planet Jupiter, the motions and cycles of which were personified in poetry and myth.

In Greek mythology, the Heliades (“children of the sun”) were the daughters of Helios and Clymene the Oceanid.

Their brother, Phaëthon, died after attempting to drive his father’s chariot (the sun) across the sky.

He was unable to control the horses and fell to his death (according to most accounts, Zeus struck his chariot with a thunderbolt to save the Earth from being set afire).

Astronomy’s selective amnesia usually forgets Dennis Rawlins.

Dennis Rawlins (born 1937) is an American astronomer and historian who has acquired the reputation of skeptic primarily with respect to historical claims connected to astronomical considerations.

He is known to the public mostly from media coverage of his investigations of the two most, successful science hoaxes of the twentieth century.

In his first book, Peary at the North Pole: fact or fiction? (1973), Rawlins argued that Robert Peary never made it to the North Pole in 1909.

His second book (1993) is the standard critical edition of Tycho Brahe’s 1598 catalogue of 1004 stars which detected ten star places faked partially or entirely.

Astronomy also prioritises the memory holing of Dennis Rawlins’ realisation that Olbers [over the years] observed Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta in the same “magic” square degree of sky.

Dennis Rawlins (DR), preparing a 1966 ms on the Brit theft of planet Neptune, (see the planet-theft theory’s ultimate vindication at Scientific American 2004 Dec pp.98-99), was amazed to find that Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers’ 1802 recovery of Ceres (asteroid #1: discovered by G.Piazzi 1801/1/1 [?], but later lost for months), as well as Olbers’ discoveries of Pallas (1802) and of Vesta (1807), ALL occurred in the same square degree of the sky. (E&E 1800.0: Rt.Asc. 184°-185°, Decl. 11°-12°.)

Dennis Rawlins – Contributions
DIO – The International Journal of Scientific History

These 3 in 1 observations are said to be a “billion-to-1 coincidence”.

Since the sky contains 41253 (129600/π) square degrees, this is an ordmag billion-to-1 coincidence.

Dennis Rawlins – Contributions
DIO – The International Journal of Scientific History

And this “billion-to-1 coincidence” supports Olbers’ Missing Planet hypothesis because orbiting fragments of an exploded planets will usually return to their point of origin.

Thus, it may help explain the origin of Olbers’ theory (which he discussed even before capturing Vesta) that the asteroids came from a destroyed planet between Mars & Jupiter, since all fragments of an explosion or an encounter would regularly return to the place of occurrence.

Dennis Rawlins – Contributions
DIO – The International Journal of Scientific History

Jupiter Family comets appear to contain [at least] two points of origin.

Unfortunately, support for the “planetary explosion” theory was effectively silenced by the mainstream [in 1814] because it challenged the prevailing theory of cometary origins.

However, the “planetary explosion” theory was revived in the 1977 when [the late and great] Tom Van Flandern published “A Former Major Planet of the Solar System” after finding “strong indications of the former existence of a planet with a mass ninety times that of the Earth” in the asteroid belt.


Amongst the asteroid belt debris is a 200 km wide lump of iron–nickel [orbiting near the 2.8 AU Titius-Bode “Gap”] that’s possibly from a 500 km parent body.

Psyche is one of the ten most massive asteroids in the asteroid belt.

This object is over 200 km (120 mi) in diameter and contains a little less than 1% of the mass of the entire asteroid belt.

Radar observations indicate that Psyche has a fairly pure iron–nickel composition, consistent with it having one of the highest radar albedos in the asteroid belt (0.37±0.09).

Based on its composition Psyche appears to be an exposed metallic core or a fragment of a metallic core from a larger differentiated parent body some 500 kilometers in diameter.

The origins of this 200 kilometre diameter lump of iron–nickel is unknown.


But it’s possible the explosive disintegration of a White Dwarf or Dwarf Carbon Star created cascades of comets and deluges of debris when two binary systems merged to form the Solar System in the current era.


Disintegrating Carbon Stars create cascades of Carbon Comets.


○ The 1st Solar System Defibrillation occurred in the 6th-7th centuries.
○ The 2nd Solar System Defibrillation occurred in the 9th-10th centuries.
○ Thereafter the Solar System Pacemaker kicked-in every ~ 400 years.

This analysis implies the Solar System was assembled in the 1st millennium.


But, as always, review the evidence and assess the possibilities.

This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Astrophysics, Atomic Comet, Catastrophism, Comets, Earth, Hecker Horizon, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Johannes Kepler, Solar System, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dennis Rawlins: Olbers’ Magic Square of Sky

  1. malagabay says:

    The two distinct points of origin associated with the Jupiter Family of comets possibly align with the reported supernova.

    1) The supernova observation is from the Book of Later Han and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility this “titanic explosion” of a “guest star” actually occurred in 957 AD.


    2) The Sol Invictus “Sun” began to explosively disintegrate in 1006 CE.

    SN 1006 was a supernova that is likely the brightest observed stellar event in recorded history, reaching an estimated −7.5 visual magnitude, and exceeding roughly sixteen times the brightness of Venus.

    Appearing between April 30 and May 1, 1006 AD in the constellation of Lupus, this “guest star” was described by observers across the modern day countries of China, Japan, Iraq, Egypt, and the continent of Europe, and possibly recorded in North American petroglyphs.


  2. Yry says:

    I came to suspect these last days that those numerous unnerving color circular designs from the (paper) plates of the 5th century Merovingian “Notitia Dignitatum Imperii Romani” at the french BnF actually portray the presence of this then active “guest star” within our Solar system set to destroy itself later on in 1006 CE.

    The variations applied to each design are incredible and perplexing.
    They could well correspond to an “agitated” star or gas planet which the priests recorded correctly after all.

    This would also explain why our (current) Sun is often seen blocked off partly or in near-totality eclipsewise in many of these plates.

    Maybe this gas planet was accompanied by a couple of moons like Ceres & Vesta and possibly by Proserpina…

    Great work, thank you Tim for this knowledge!

  3. oldbrew says:

    The semi-major axis of Ceres is twice the *perihelion*, i.e. not the SMA, of Mars.

Comments are closed.