On 18 June 1178 five monks from the Canterbury Abbey reported that they saw a spectacular flash of light on the surface of the moon. The Canterbury chronicler, Fratello Gervase took the deposition of the five monks.
In his chronicles Gervase wrote:
“This year on the 18th of June, when the Moon, a slim crescent, first became visible, a marvelous phenomenon was seen by several men who were watching it. Suddenly, the upper horn of the crescent was split in two. From the mid point of the division, a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out over a considerable distance fire, hot coals and sparks. The body of the Moon which was below, writhed like a wounded snake. This happened a dozen times or more, and when the Moon returned to normal, the whole crescent took on a blackish appearance.”
The monks sighting coincides with the Taurid meteor shower, which occurs in late June. Modern astronomers theorize that there would be a discharge of molten matter from a meteor impact, which is consistent with the monks description of the event.
There are some astronomers and physicist that have a different idea of what occurred. Paul Withers hypothesis states that an impact that great “would have triggered a blizzard-like, week-long meteor storm on Earth — yet there are no accounts of such a storm in any known historical record, including the European, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Korean astronomical archives.”
So What does Mr. Withers think the monks witnessed?
“I think they happened to be at the right place at the right time to look up in the sky and see a meteor that was directly in front of the moon, coming straight towards them,” ~Paul Withers
What do you think? Did the monks of Canterbury really see the formation of a moon crater?