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Skywatch

Wed May 25, 2016 THE VENERABLE BEDE FEAST DAY

On May 25th in the year AD 735 – that’s over 1200 years ago - Baeda, the Venerable Bede, died. He was an English monk who in the 8th Century was the first person we know of to have written scholarly works in the English language. He also wrote De NaturaRerum, which was a collection of works on geography and astronomy, much of it preserved knowledge from Greek civilization, but also knowledge gained by observation and deduction. He was aware that the earth was round, and that the solar year is not exactly 365 and a quarter days long, but roughly 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes, so that the Julian calendar (one leap year every four years) would need to be adjusted in order to keep the months in step with the seasons. (He was a man far ahead of his time – the Gregorian calendar which developed from this observation would not be implemented until 1582!) And he was the first to use the B.C. – A.D. designations in our modern calendar.