Friday's Solar Eclipse Mirrors the Day Richard III's Wife Died 530 Years Ago
When a partial solar eclipse plunges Britain into darkness on Friday, it will mirror a historical event that occurred on March 16, 1485, exactly 530 years ago today. Historical astronomical data has revealed that a similar eclipse obscured the Sun on the day that Anne Neville, Richard III's wife, passed away, and that Richard himself may have died underneath a blood moon.
It has long been suspected that there was an eclipse on the night of Neville's death, as several historical accounts of Richard III's defeat at the Battle of Bosworth, which occurred in August of that year, mention that some citizens interpreted the eclipse as an omen of Richard's fall from heavenly grace. But now, Colin Brooks, a member of the University of Leicester Astronomical Society, claims that astronomical data scientifically proves that there was, in fact, a solar eclipse that night.
"It's known accurately as we know the orbit of the Earth and Moon accurately - so you apply the laws of physics and work backwards. Observations of past eclipses, when and where they were seen, helps to determine what happened to the Earth's rotation in the past. The uncertainty for the 1485 eclipse is much less than a day so for that one we can be sure it happened on March 16."
Brooks also claimed that his study of the historical astronomical data allowed him to map out the positions of the stars and planets on the night of the Battle of Bosworth: "Using planetarium software, I traced the position of stars and planets during important moments in the life, and death, of Richard III. Extra research was required for the accurate position of the Moon which I sourced through NASA archives covering the period 1485."
From his research, he claims that there was likely a blood moon on the night of Richard III's death: "Richard's body was taken to Leicester and displayed for three days, and at night the near full Moon would be shining down on his naked and broken body. During the eclipse, depending on the amount of volcanic dust in the atmosphere, the appearance of the Moon could vary in color between orange and a deep blood-red. Geological evidence suggests that significant eruptions did occur in the mid-15th century."