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Post Reply Astronomy
Witch/Wizard
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Posted 9/17/08
No, there's no "9th planet (pluto) " anymore. It was voted out of the astronomical lexicon about a year ago.
Witch/Wizard
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Posted 9/17/08


this is a 17th century celestial map by the dutch cartographer FREDERIK D. WIT
Witch/Wizard
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Posted 9/17/08
In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye. In some locations, such as Stonehenge, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that likely had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as in understanding the length of the year.

Before tools such as the telescope were invented early study of the stars had to be conducted from the only vantage points available, namely tall buildings, trees and high ground using the bare eye.

As civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Maya, India, China, and the Islamic world, astronomical observatories were assembled, and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Most of early astronomy actually consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the universe.

A few notable astronomical discoveries were made prior to the application of the telescope. For example, the obliquity of the ecliptic was estimated as early as 1000 BC by the Chinese. The Chaldeans discovered that lunar eclipses recurred in a repeating cycle known as a saros. In the 2nd century BC, the size and distance of the Moon were estimated by Hipparchus.

During the Middle Ages, observational astronomy was mostly stagnant in medieval Europe, at least until the 13th century. However, observational astronomy flourished in the Islamic world and other parts of the world. Some of the prominent Arab astronomers, who made significant contributions to the science were Al-Battani and Thebit. Astronomers during that time introduced many Arabic names that are now used for individual stars.
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