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Ancient Astronomy

Started by Brother Mythos, July 01, 2016, 09:05:36 AM

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Brother Mythos

'A 6,000-year-old telescope without a lens'

'prehistoric tombs enhanced astronomical viewing' (Expanded title from original RAS press release)

"Astronomers are exploring what might be described as the first astronomical observing tool, potentially used by prehistoric humans 6,000 years ago. They suggest that the long, narrow entrance passages to ancient stone, or 'megalithic,' tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky, an effect that could have been interpreted as the ancestors granting special power to the initiated."

Here's the link:

And, for those interested, here's the link to the original Royal Astronomical Society press release. Be advised however, it's the same text, but you have to click on the two picture links in order to view them:
Discordianism is fundamentally mischievous irreverence.

Brother Mythos

'Antikythera Mechanism May Have Been World's First 'STEM' Project'

I found the following quote from the article to be especially interesting:

'... the researchers are adamant that this was not a one-off model. While such mechanisms depicting sophisticated astronomical models may have not been plentiful during this epoch, they were known among the Greco-Roman intelligentsia of the day.

"And the one we have was obviously not the first to be made," said Jones. " It is too complicated; too miniature to have been the prototype."'

Here's the link to the article:

I believe interest in the Antikythera Mechanism has continued to grow as researchers have published more and more of their findings. Back in the '80s, the device had been placed all the way in the back of The National Archaeological Museum of Athens. If you weren't looking at every single exhibit item, or specifically looking for the device, you could have walked right past it without noticing it. However, when I visited the museum a few years ago, it had been relocated to the front and center of the main entrance.
Discordianism is fundamentally mischievous irreverence.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

It's a pretty interesting old machine.
"I'm guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk," Charles Wick said. "It was very complicated."



I once waxed the floors of a nursing home, pulled off all the rubber feet on the walkers, and yelled "FIRE!"


I knew I should have left the window on my time machine closed when I went back to tour the Parthenon.

Brother Mythos

'Decoding the ancient astronomy of Stonehenge'

This site contains a short, but interesting, video clip of the layout of Stonehenge.

Here's a quotation from the site:

'The Stonehenge monument in England is known for its alignment with the summer solstice sunrise, and a is popular destination for revelers welcoming the longest day of the year. The inner "horseshoe" of the monument opens toward the point on the horizon where the sun appears on the day in June when the sun's path is furthest North.

But on the same axis, in the opposite direction, is the point on the horizon where the sun sets on the winter solstice. And some experts suspect that the midwinter alignment may have been the more important occasion for the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge.'

Here's the link:
Discordianism is fundamentally mischievous irreverence.

Brother Mythos

"A 2,500-year-old celestial map carved on the surface of a circular stone found in Italy"

As per the article:

"Two circular stones measuring 50 centimeters in diameter have been discovered in Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo, an ancient hilltop fortress in the Italian province of Trieste, and one of them may be one of the oldest celestial map found in Italy."

And, further along in the article:

"29 engravings on the stone have been identified by the team, and they perfectly match the constellations of Cassiopeia, Orion, Scorpius, and the Pleiades. The researchers hypothesize that the carvings were probably created by the same person using a hammer and a crude metal chisel with a 6-7 mm tip based on the angle of the cut marks in the stone.

The researchers also used the program Stellarium to simulate the night sky because a star called Theta Scorpii was so low on the horizon in the 1800s BCE that it cannot be seen today.

But let's get to the 29 signs. All but one are superimposable on the stars of Scorpius, Orion, the Pleiades and probably – also considering the 5 signs on the back of the stone – Cassiopeia. And it is an overlap with very high statistical significance, the authors specify: the p-value is much lower than 0.001. In other words, it is highly unlikely that the arrangement of those signs was purely the result of chance. Not only that: the deviations from the true positions are of the order of the size of the signs, demonstrating considerable care in the execution.

All except one, we said. But the 29th sign could also be there on purpose. The intruder could represent a supernova, the authors propose. Or a so-called "failed supernova". So one of those objects that astronomers call transients: at a certain point they make their appearance, and then disappear again. If this were the case, researchers suggest, there could be a black hole there in that point of the sky today."

It would be amazing if astronomers search the area of sky represented by the 29th sign, and actually do find evidence of an old supernova. But, we'll have to wait and see.

Here's the link:   2,500-year-old Celestial Map Found
Discordianism is fundamentally mischievous irreverence.

Brother Mythos

"Rare Astrolabe Discovered in Verona Sheds Light On Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Scientific Exchange"

As per the article:

"An eleventh-century rare astrolabe bearing Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions was recently discovered in a museum in Verona, Italy. It dates from the 1100s, making it one of the oldest astrolabes ever discovered.

The discovery of ancient astronomical tool bearing Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions has unveiled a rich tapestry of scientific exchange among Arabs, Jews, and Christians during medieval times.

Its history tells a fascinating story of centuries-long adaptation, translation, and revision by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars in Spain, North Africa, and Italy.

Astrolabes are early scientific calculators that could measure time, distances, and the position of stars, and even make horoscopes predicting the future. They are pocket-sized maps of the universe that enable users to plot the position of the stars."

And, further along in the article:

""The Verona astrolabe underwent many modifications, additions, and adaptations as it changed hands. At least three separate users felt the need to add translations and corrections to this object, two using Hebrew and one using a Western language."

She deduced that it was initially created in 1100s Muslim-ruled Spain by looking at its unique features and inscriptions. The latitudes of the inscriptions correspond to cities in Spain, such as Toledo and Cordoba."

This is yet another example of science being exchanged across geographical, governmental, cultural, language, and religious boundaries.

Here's the link:   Rare Astrolabe Discovered
Discordianism is fundamentally mischievous irreverence.