Does anyone offer an explanation for the astronomical descriptions that do not seem to fit with the known facts of our universe today?
Avraham Grant, Baltimore, USA
AKEIDAH SHEMOS 37 P. 10
I am not aware of any treatises on the subject, although it is certainly a fascinating candidate for a comprehensive discussion. For lack of other sources, I will share with you my own understanding of the astronomical Agados on these Dapim, in the hope that it will inspire someone to do a more thorough work on the subject.
There are four main points on this Daf that require clarification in light of current scientific understanding (in order of appearance):
(a) Is the world really 6,000 Parsa'os wide? How are we to understand the various proofs that the earth is larger than 6,000 Parsa'os? And who is correct?
(b) What is meant by "the "thickness of the Raki'a"?
(c) What is the meaning of the argument whether the "Galgal" is stiff and the "Mazalos" are moving, or v.v.? And what does Rashi mean when he says that the Mazalos "just pass the sun on to the next Mazal, and return to their place"? And how are we to understand the proof for the Chachamim and the refutation that the Gemara offers?
(d) What is meaning of the argument whether the sun goes under or over the world at night? And how does the sun heat the subterranean springs at night?
(e) What is the meaning of the "four paths" that the sun takes over the months of the year?