Tapestries Could Be Medieval Maps To The Sky, Researchers Say

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Researchers are studying medieval tapestries to see if they offer more insight into outer space, according to a report by the New York Post Tuesday.

Medievalist Marilina Cesario and astronomer Pedro Lacerda from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland are examining medieval tapestries and scrolls that depict outer space and potentially describe Planet Nine, a hypothetical planet that might exist in our solar system, according to the New York Post. The artifacts examined portray astronomy during the medieval period, and are available for viewing at the Ulster Museum’s exhibit “Marvelling at the Skies: Comets through the Eyes of the Anglo-Saxons.”

“We have a wealth of historical records of comets in Old English, Old Irish, Latin and Russian which have been overlooked for a long time,” Cesario told Live Science. “Early medieval people were fascinated by the heavens, as much as we are today.”

The medievalist also noted to Live Science that people in the early middle ages tried to rationalize and gain more insight into astronomy, surprisingly without a religious perspective.

“It is fantastic to be able to use data about 1,000 years old to investigate a current theory,” Lacerda added.

Planet Nine is said to have a mass ten times larger than Earth and an orbit 20 times farther away from the sun than Neptune. Scientists who support the notion of Planet Nine believe it could explain gravitational forces in the Kuiper Belt, which includes icy material past Neptune.

One of the documents available for viewing at the current exhibit is The Bayeux Tapestry, which is a depiction of Halley’s Comet in 1066. Anglo-Saxons referred to the comets as  “long-haired stars.”

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