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URL:https://www.bible.ca/...-jerusalem-temple-mount-infrared.htm
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Title:Infrared Imaging of the Temple Mount
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Body:Infrared Imaging of the Temple Mount

A. Understanding infrared photography:

Tuvia Sagiv spend a lot of his own time and money researching the structures under the temple mount using infrared imaging technology. We applaud his dedication to truth. There are several versions of these photographs floating around the net, but these are the original untouched ones, except as we have indicated otherwise.

Infrared imaging looks for heat. Motion sensors in a typical home security alarm system are actually infrared cameras that look for the moving body heat of a human intruder (or dog = false alarm). Infrared motion sensors, for example cannot see through glass, they only measure the temperature of the glass itself and cannot see anything outside through the glass. This is good, because if motion sensors could see through glass, you would get a lot of false alarms when someone walks by a store window on the sidewalk. In infrared imaging photography, you are measuring the two dimensional surface temperature. It does not "look" three dimensionally below the surface even an inch, but like a thermometer, measures the surface heat.

Although it measures surface temperature only, we can get an idea of what is below the surface with a basic understanding of the laws of physics. If you heated three different blocks of wood, stone and metal to the same temperature, they cool off at different rates. When the sun shines all day on the ground, it provides a source of heat energy. The ground heats up in the day, then cools down in the evening. On your own property, the grass is cool by 10 PM, but the roads, driveway and sidewalks are still noticeably warm. This is why so many snakes get killed at night in deserts when they lay on the road to warm up and get run over by a car. If you took an infrared image over your house at 10 PM after a hot summer day, you would notice the driveway was hot (white coloured) and the grass is cold. (dark coloured).

We must also take into account the shadow effect of buildings and trees that block the sun's heat as it sets. Its called the "eastern heat shadow" because these shadows are always on the eastern side (shaded side) of a tree or building. This means that for many hours as the sun sets, the ground is shadowed from the sun and will therefore be noticeably cooler (darker) shadow when photographed in infrared.

If there were sections of foundation walls very close to the surface where they could "soak up" the sun's heat energy during the day, then this large storage of heat would keep the ground all around it warmer than a few feet away. If you had large poured concrete foundations in direct contact with large paving stones on the surface, the heat energy would be stored in the foundation below. At night, the heat stored in the foundation would keep the surface temperature of the paving stones higher directly above and you would see the outline of the foundation in an infrared photograph. But if the foundation has a layer of even 2 feet of dirt over it, then the buried foundation wall might not be any warmer than the surrounding earth.

Furthermore, if the foundation wall was in direct contact with the surface paving stone and went 15 feet deep underground, the foundation may in fact cause the surface to be colder (darker) in the image. This is because the heat transfers down below where the foundation wall is cooler. It "wicks" the heat down from the surface to the much cooler area.

So a narrow but deep wall would likely wick the heat from the surface making it colder at night. (a dark stripe) On the other hand paving stones over a large section of bedrock would certainly keep the surface warmer at night. (a large white glow) We believe

B. Our assessment of these photographs:

Tuvia believes these photographs provide evidence of a pentagon shaped foundation structure under the east side of the Dome of the Rock and foundation lines consistent with the Jewish temple at the Al-Kas fountain. We kindly disagree.

The photo taken February 2, 1994, 10:45 PM, is the only one of value in the discussion of foundation lines consistent with the Jewish temple at the Al-Kas fountain. Yet we see no real evidence of a foundation structure. Remember, if the Jewish temple was at the Al-Kas fountain, the foundation level would be more than 50 feet below ground. Jesus said not one stone would be left upon another, which would not be torn down. (Luke 21). This is way too deep for infrared imaging to be in any way helpful.

The photos of the Dome of the Rock do not provide any evidence of a pentagon shaped foundation structure underground. The retained heat seen east of the Dome is most likely from the bedrock itself that is very close to the surface. Perhaps the bedrock was shaped somewhat by Herod when he built the Fortress of Antonia or by Hadrian in 135 AD, when he built the temple of Jupiter on the dome of the Rock.

C. Conclusions:

We reject the entire idea that infrared imaging has provided evidence of remnants of a pentagon shaped structure under the Dome of the Rock.

More tests need to be done at a time of year that maximized the thermal differences at night between rock and soil. For example, taking an infrared photograph at 6 AM on January 1 is predictably not much use since the small amount of heat the sun provides in winter, is long dissipated by that time and the image is very uniform in colour temperature.

On the other hand, taking an infrared photograph at 6AM after a blistering hot summer day in July may provide excellent colour temperature discrimination and be quite helpful and revealing.

Also the photographs need to be directly over the temple area looking straight down rather than on the sharp angles that we see here.

We recommend digging up the entire temple mount to see what is really under there!

Click on photos for high resolution

Al-Kas Fountain January 1, 1995, 5:52 AM

This picture was taken very early in the morning after a cold January night. You can see the roofs of the Dome and Al-Aqsa are hot because the buildings are heated and the heat would escape through the roof. The Al-Kas fountain area is uniform, providing no information.

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Al-Kas Fountain February 2, 1994, 6:07 PM

You can see the dark shadows from the trees. This is because as the sun sets, that part of the ground is shaded and therefore cooler. Little information about substructures is discernable.

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Al-Kas Fountain February 2, 1994, 8:08 PM

Again, you can see the dark shadows from the trees. This is because as the sun sets, that part of the ground is shaded and therefore cooler. Little information about substructures is discernable.

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Al-Kas Fountain February 2, 1994, 10:45 PM

This image is helpful and interesting. It is almost 11 PM, mid-winter (Feb 1) and the energy from the sun that would cause "tree shadows" is dispersed.

The colour photo at the right is taken at almost the same angle as the infrared photo. You can see the Al-Kas fountain half way between the double tree line. This double tree line shows up as two white stripes represented in the green lines.

We see two lines of warm (white) just south of the Al-Kas Fountain represented by yellow lines. It is these that Tuvia Sagiv believes may be evidence for the foundations from the Herodian Jewish temple. This slight difference in temperature could be explained in many ways including an extra foot of gravel fill below the paving stones. If these were foundation walls from the temple, they would be 50 feet below the surface, and impossible to detect using infrared imaging.

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Dome of the Rock February 2, 1994, 6:51 AM

Here are two views of the same photo. The first is the original untouched. It is taken at about 7 AM and there is little heat from the sun yet. However we see clear evidence of retained heat from rock mass underneath by the strong white section east of the Dome. More likely, this is the natural contour of the bedrock below the paving stones and not the remnant of some pentagon shaped foundation.

The second photo is false inverted, so the dark areas are hot and the light areas are cold. Notice the paving stones that completely circle the Dome form a distinct temperature difference from the adjoining paving stones in the larger court area. In daylight, it is obvious that two different kinds of stone were used, with distinct heat retention coefficients. The paving stones that encircle the Dome are all hotter than the paving stones in the court. Two different kinds of stones, two different infrared temperatures. No real evidence of a pentagon structure.

You can see the distinct paving stones in the form an octagon that surround the Dome in both the false inverted and the real photo.

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Dome of the Rock February 2, 1994, 6:08 PM

The retained heat east of the Dome is likely from the bedrock and not a building foundation.

See the colour photo above as it is oriented in almost the same compass bearing.

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Dome of the Rock February 2, 1994, 8:37 PM

The retained heat east of the Dome is likely from the bedrock and not a building foundation. Without taking infrared photos from directly above, it is difficult to really say what shape the rock is underneath.

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By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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