Quirky Quintuplet: Back to Square One?

by Karen Alexander
Temporary Temples Blog
May 19, 2012

Eaton Water Copse, nr Hannington, Wilts May 12th 2012
Oilseed Rape (canola)

Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Water Eaton Copse, nr Hannington, North of Swindon, Wilts. Reported 12th May 2012 – Oilseed Rape.

The third formation of the year was reported on May the 12th and was located at the rather elaborately named ‘Eaton Water Copse’ (near to Hannington) in Wilts, just North of Swindon. While there are many that would argue that Swindon does not have many endearing qualities, one only has to look at the countryside surrounding it to see that even though its town centre may not be the most picturesque, its encompassing landscape more than makes up for it. The rolling hills and grand expanses of farmers fields; a collage all shapes, sizes and colours, make a beautiful frame for the concrete and red brick town centre.

Swindon holds a very special place in my heart, not because I have ever spent much time there, or because I have any particularly fond memories of events there, but because it is the home of one of my favourite literary heroines ‘Thursday Next’ – Jasper Ffordes wonderfully funny, clever and unconventional creation. Sorry I digress!

The formation was a quintuplet; this is a ‘five dot on a dice’ design, one circle in the centre and four circles surrounding it in equidistant positions. It is a classical crop circle design-type. There has been a whole catalogue of variations on this pattern, with circles of varying sizes, some connected by a ring, others not, even one where (most unusually), the four orbiting circles touched the centre circle. Researcher and geometer Michael Glickman affectionately identifies them as the mother circle (in the centre) and her daughters (orbiting circles). This is so endearing that it is now how I think of them as well!

Drawing of the Eaton Water Copse formation. Ink on cartridge paper, finished with a watery blue watercolour in honour of its pretty location name.

A glimpse through any of the early books about the phenomenon will throw up a whole raft of quintuplets. While the quintuplet is essentially about the number four (it is four-fold in nature), it does have a curious connection to five through its anchoring centre circle. The quintuplet has long fascinated crop circle researchers/geometers (as evidenced above), because it has been such a reoccurring design, but it was geometer Allan Brown that really propelled the quintuplet into superstardom. He showed that almost every quintuplet-shaped crop circle carried a hidden property. That hidden property was that they all Squared the Circle.



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