Sixth Seal – Heavenly Signs

The Bible prophecies about certain Heavenly Signs as the 6th of seven Seals.  We are to be looking for anything happening in the heavens leading up to these events.  In the 14 items to look for in world events, Mr. Armstrong lists as item 13, to look for heavenly signs (meteor showers/comets) and any other noteworthy developments.  First notice key verses followed by an important story reported on 6 July 2004.

Rev 6:12-17
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Matt 24:29-30
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Joel 2:30-31
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Sunspots reaching
1,000-year high

By Dr David Whitehouse --BBC

A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.

Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past.

They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer.

This trend is being amplified by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue.

'Little Ice Age'

Sunspots have been monitored on the Sun since 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope. They provide the longest-running direct measurement of our star's activity.

The variation in sunspot numbers has revealed the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity as well as other, longer-term changes.

In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface.

This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it.

It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive.
Over the past few thousand years there is evidence of earlier Maunder-like coolings in the Earth's climate - indicated by tree-ring measurements that show slow growth due to prolonged cold.

In an attempt to determine what happened to sunspots during these other cold periods, Dr Sami Solanki and colleagues have looked at concentrations of a form, or isotope, of beryllium in ice cores from Greenland.

The isotope is created by cosmic rays - high-energy particles from the depths of the galaxy.

The flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface is modulated by the strength of the solar wind, the charged particles that stream away from the Sun's surface.

And since the strength of the solar wind varies over the sunspot cycle, the amount of beryllium in the ice at a time in the past can therefore be used to infer the state of the Sun and, roughly, the number of sunspots.

Latest warming

Dr Solanki is presenting a paper on the reconstruction of past solar activity at Cool Stars, Stellar Systems And The Sun, a conference in Hamburg, Germany.

He says that the reconstruction shows the Maunder Minimum and the other minima that are known in the past thousand years.

But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years.

Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, a trend that has accelerated in the past century, just at the time when the Earth has been getting warmer.

The data suggests that changing solar activity is influencing in some way the global climate causing the world to get warmer.

Over the past 20 years, however, the number of sunspots has remained roughly constant, yet the average temperature of the Earth has continued to increase.

This is put down to a human-produced greenhouse effect caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

This latest analysis shows that the Sun has had a considerable indirect influence on the global climate in the past, causing the Earth to warm or chill, and that mankind is amplifying the Sun's latest attempt to warm the Earth.

Source

News Story 22 July 2004

Earth-Directed Sunspot Now Size of 20 Earths

At 20 times the size of Earth, the largest sunspot observed since the fall solar storm onslaught is now pointed directly at Earth. Its unusually large size also means that it's now visible with the naked eye (although you should never look at the Sun without a proper filter). The implications of this spot have scientists on the edge of their seats - if the active region generates coronal mass ejections (CMEs), massive explosions with a potential force of a billion megaton bombs, it will be a fairly direct hit to Earth and its satellites and power grids.

View of sunspot 20 times size of Earth

Right: A view from the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) instrument on the SOHO spacecraft. It's a helioseismology instrument that analyzes the vibrational modes of the Sun as well as the Sun's magnetic field. Click on image for movie. Credit: NASA/ESA

The last large solar events occurred in the fall of 2003 when about 17 major flares erupted on the Sun. In this case, the region (AR 10652) has generated several medium-sized flares and CMEs over the past three and a half days. These views are from the SOHO spacecraft's MDI and EIT instruments, respectively. The EIT view shows the active regions churning out massive amounts of magnetically confined plasma in small blasts. Over the next few days, the region has the potential for unleashing more and larger solar storms.

View of active regions in solar corona

Left: Full-disk view of the Sun with SOHO's Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT). The bright active regions are the source for flares and CMEs. Click on image for movie. Credit: NASA/ESA

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is located in an orbit approximately one million miles from Earth in order to gain an unobstructed view of the Sun. It carries 12 instruments and is a joint NASA / European Space Agency (ESA) mission.

Source                             Note: Click on two photos above to see video of each

Links: 
Space Weather
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Space.Ref.com –Space News As It Happens
Space.Ref.ca –Space Ref for Canada
Space.Ref EU – Space Ref for Europe
Space.Ref Photo Gallery
NASA Watch
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration –official source of space weather alerts
Observable Comets

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