Ancient Astronomy Unit 1.1 - PowerPoint Presentation

Ancient Astronomy Unit  1.1
Ancient Astronomy Unit  1.1

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1 Ancient Astronomy Many ancient cultures took a keen interest in the changing nighttime sky The records and artifacts that have survived until the present make that abundantly clear 2 Ancient Astronomy ID: 783110 Download

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ancient astronomy sky astronomical astronomy ancient astronomical sky events stonehenge practical human stars stone astronomers world chinese records knowledge

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Slide1

Ancient Astronomy

Unit 1.1

1

Slide2

Ancient Astronomy

Many ancient cultures took a keen interest in the changing nighttime sky. The records and artifacts that have survived until the present make that abundantly clear.

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Slide3

Ancient Astronomy

But unlike today, the major driving force behind the development of astronomy in those early societies

was probably neither scientific or religious. Instead, it

was practical.

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Slide4

Ancient Astronomy

Seafarers needed to navigate their vessels, and farmers had to know when to plant their crops.

In a real sense, human survival depended on knowledge of the heavens.

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Slide5

Ancient Astronomy

The ability to predict the arrival of the seasons, as well as other astronomical events, was a highly prized guarded skill.

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Slide6

Ancient Astronomy

In the previous unit, we saw that the human brain’s ability to perceive patterns in the stars led to the invention of constellations as a convenient means of labeling regions of the celestial sphere.

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Ancient Astronomy

The realization that these patterns returned to the night sky at the same time each year met the need for a practical means of tracking the seasons.

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Slide8

Ancient Astronomy

Widely separated cultures all over the world built elaborate structures, to serve

,

at least in part,

as primitive calendars.

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Slide9

Ancient Astronomy

Often the keepers of the secrets of the sky enshrined their knowledge in myth and ritual, and

these astronomical sites were also used for religious ceremonies.

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Slide10

Ancient Astronomy

Perhaps the best-known such site is Stonehenge,

located on Salisbury Plain in England.

This ancient stone

circle dates from the

Stone Age.

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Slide11

Ancient Astronomy

Researchers believe it was an early astronomical observatory of sorts, like a kind of three dimensional calendar or almanac

, enabling its builders and their descendants to identify important dates by specific celestial events.

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Ancient Astronomy

Many of the stones are aligned so that they point towards important astronomical events.

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Ancient Astronomy

For example, the line joining the center of the inner circle to the so-called heel stone, set off some distance from the rest of the structure points in the direction of the rising Sun on the summer solstice.

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Ancient Astronomy

Other alignments are related to the rising and setting of the Sun and the Moon at other times of the year.

This is to within a 1° accuracy.

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Ancient Astronomy

While some of Stonehenge’s purposes remain uncertain and controversial, the site’s function as an astronomical almanac seems well established.

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Ancient Astronomy

Although Stonehenge is the most impressive and the best preserved, other stone circles, found all over Europe, are believed to have performed similar functions.

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Ancient Astronomy

Many other cultures are now known to have been capable of similarly precise accomplishments.

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Ancient Astronomy

The Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming is similar to Stonehenge in design although it is simpler in execution.

Its alignments with the rising and setting Sun and with some bright stars indicate that the Plains Indians were familiar with the nighttime sky.

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Ancient Astronomy

There is also the Caracol

temple, built by the Mayans around on the 1000 AD on the Yucatan peninsula, which was more sophisticated than Stonehenge.

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Ancient Astronomy

Its many windows are accurately aligned with astronomical events,

such as the sunrise and sunset at the solstices and the equinoxes and the risings and settings of the planet Venus.

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Ancient Astronomy

Astronomy was more than mere academic interest to the Mayans,

Caracol

was also the site of countless human sacrifices, carried out when Venus appeared in the morning or evening sky.

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Ancient Astronomy

The ancient Chinese also observed the heavens.

Their astrology attached particular importance to “omens” such as comets and “guest stars”.

They kept careful and extensive records of such events.

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Slide25

Ancient Astronomy

Twentieth century astronomers still turn to the Chinese records to obtain observational data recorded during the Dark Ages when turmoil in Europe halted the progress of Western science.

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Ancient Astronomy

Perhaps the best known guest star was one that appeared in 1054 AD and was visible in the daytime sky for many months.

We now know that the event was actually a supernova.

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Slide27

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw-NtS3lM9w

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Ancient Astronomy

It left behind mass that is still detectable today.

The Chinese data are a prime source of historical information for supernova research.

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Ancient Astronomy

A vital link between the astronomy of ancient Greece and that of medieval Europe was provided by astronomers in the Muslim world.

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Ancient Astronomy

For six centuries, from the depth of the Dark Ages to the beginning of the Renaissance,

Islamic astronomy flourished and grew preserving and augmenting the knowledge of the Greeks.

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Slide31

Ancient Astronomy

Many of the mathematical techniques involved in trigonometry were developed by Islamic astronomers in response to practical problems.

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Ancient Astronomy

Astronomical terms such as “zenith” and “azimuth” and the names of many stars all bear witness to this extended period of Muslim scholarship.

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Ancient Astronomy

Astronomy is not the property of any one culture, civilization, or era.

The same ideas, the same tools, and even the same misconceptions have been invented and reinvented by societies all over the world.

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Ancient Astronomy

Astronomy came into being because people believed that there was a practical benefit in being able to predict the positions of the stars.

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Ancient Astronomy

Ultimately, the need to understand where we came from and how we fit into the cosmos is an integral part of human nature.

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