08 March 2021

Hardest anagram ever?


As explained by NASA:
In the spring of 1655, the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens announced his discovery that Saturn had a moon orbiting it. 

Huygens used an interesting method for this announcement — he sent a coded message, an anagram, to his fellow astronomers...  In Huygens’ time, astronomers and other scientists would use anagrams to pass around the news of their discoveries. No one else could claim to be the discoverer in the meantime, because no one else even knew what it was that had been discovered. After everyone had received the anagram, the scientist told them how to unscramble it, revealing the message.

When the anagram is unscrambled, it reads, in Latin, “Saturno luna sua circunducitur diebus sexdecim horis quatuor,” which means “Saturn’s moon revolves in sixteen days and four hours.” 


  1. Clever! As it happens, I'm reading a book about Huygens right now, Dutch Light: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55223048-dutch-light


  2. The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler is to be heartily recommended. The bold Galileo was wont to annoy other star gazers with his priority-establishing anagrams
    Kepler: Salve umbistineum geminatum Martia proles ????
    "Hail, burning twin, offspring of Mars."
    Answer: Altissimum planetam tergeminum observavi -
    "I have observed the highest planet [Saturn] in triplet form"
    [the rings were interpreted as two moons]
    Summarised: https://fingersweep.livejournal.com/144427.html


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