Enigma of Pigafeta


Antonio pigafetta.png
Indeed, one thinks that the jet-lag - this time difference faced by executives and officials who spend traveling in own body - is a modern phenomenon, and the truth is that it is true. But it was however discovered - and experienced - no less than four hundred-something years ago.
There was a case of jet lag in the Renaissance, and wait to tell them because the history is worth: he was returned when Magellan's expedition and were the surprise of his life when he saw that it was missing a day. And so: September 8, 1522, in the port of Seville, disembarked the 18 survivors of the expedition that commanded by Magellan - died during the trip - had departed three years earlier (August 10, 1519) with five ships and 250 crew members.
And those eighteen survivors had been around the world. It was a monumental feat, which arouses admiration not only for its scale, but also because it was made without the usual violence "discoverers" used to exercise the "discovered" and weaker peoples.
Now well: among the eighteen survivors was Antonio Pigafetta, chronicler of the expedition1 had taken a careful daily entering the details of the trip. And hete here that on landing he found that dates of her diary and that of Spain, incredibly, did not coincide: the day that was 8 September 8 in Spain Saturday, in his diary was 7 September Friday. Pigafetta believed that it was a mistake and reviewed the diary again and again without finding any fault. In the end, had to surrender to the evidence: during the trip, an ente­ro day had vanished as if by magic.
The news caused a sensation across Europe: a missing day! Where had gone? How I could disappear one day? Could imagine was that were facing - for the first time - with the jet-lag?
Finally, were the papal court astronomers who clarified the phenomenon: explained that if traveling around the Earth to the West lost inevitably one day, in the same way that if it is cir­cunnavegara the land to the East a day would be gained.
And the reason is this: each "day" is due to a rotation of our planet; If one moves around the Earth in the direction of the rotation will give one more turn, silo makes upside down (as in the case of Pigafetta) will give one return less. In the same way that if above a carousel one steps into the rotation senti­do, and gives a complete turn, will pass the stick of the ring once more to those who stood; and if one walks in the opposite direction, giving a complete tour, you'll see pass the stick of the ring once less.
Naturally, nobody could realize the trip because they were delaying a few seconds per day. Why jet lag did not notice physically and accumulated as a surprise capital again.
The interesting thing is that no matter the speed at which make the journey, or what it takes to do so, nor the route followed: always, to circumnavigate the Earth, it is lost (or be won) a day: one can make the way you want, whether it's a complicated polygon in zigzag or go right, can do so in a weekin three years or ten centuries, but you will always lose (or win) a day, and never more than a day to return to the starting point. Julio Verne took advantage of this phenomenon in the around the world in eighty days, and Saint-Exupéry in some way uses it in the little Prince when it recounts how in his small planet could see few sunsets occurred to him. One could say, therefore, that the jet­lag is a typically Renaissance concept. Although this is a little break things, it is nice to go up to the Renaissance an as modern phenomenon.
Article translated for educational purposes from:  Planeta Sedna