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Astronomy

20 Jun

Introduction:

Astronomy has actually been around for a very long time. Even Korea has a 5,000 year old=/- observatory preserved in Gyeong-ju, just east of Daegu. It is not a modern invention by secular people.

The Bible speaks about the universe a lot, usually using the word ‘heavens’ and here is one verse that should be of particular interest to those interested in the size of the universe:

37 Thus says the Lord,“If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord. (Jer. 31 NASB)

This tells us that no one can measure the size of the universe or search out the complete area underneath the surface of the earth. The Bible also tells us

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Ps. 19:1 NASB)

Everything we see in the universe points to God not some natural catastrophe billions of years ago. Even though unbelievers see the glory of God in all they view through their telescopes, they still attribute that glory to some ancient event they never witnessed and only guess that it took place

“And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you [a]have understanding,5  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, (Job 38 NASB)

Astronomers only guess at how the universe works or was made, God knows but it is through astronomy that we get to see more of God than we would if we restricted our view to just the earth.

What follows are different articles and websites that bring the glory of God down to earth so we can see it without too much trouble. Again, only a blurb of each will be provided and to view more of each site or article you will have to copy and paste the website address and go to the story.

#1. http://hubblesite.org/

–Since the earliest days of astronomy, since the time of Galileo, astronomers have shared a single goal — to see more, see farther, see deeper.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s launch in 1990 sped humanity to one of its greatest advances in that journey. Hubble is a telescope that orbits Earth. Its position above the atmosphere, which distorts and blocks the light that reaches our planet, gives it a view of the universe that typically far surpasses that of ground-based telescopes.

Hubble is one of NASA’s most successful and long-lasting science missions. It has beamed hundreds of thousands of images back to Earth, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy. Its gaze has helped determine the age of the universe, the identity of quasars, and the existence of dark energy.

–Like a well-oiled machine, Hubble’s optics, science instruments, and spacecraft systems work together to capture light from the cosmos, convert it into digital data, and transmit it back to Earth.

–Orbiting the Earth for over two decades, Hubble has helped to answer some of the most compelling astronomical questions of our time – and uncovered mysteries we never knew existed. Investigating everything from black holes to planets around other stars, Hubble has changed the face of astronomy, ushering in a new chapter of humanity’s exploration of the universe.

–Capture the extraordinary. Explore the universe through Hubble’s eye, and witness the most dangerous, spectacular and mysterious depths of the cosmos.

#2. http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/astronomy-ancient-astronomy.html

–Astronomy is the oldest of the physical sciences. In many early civilizations the regularity of celestial motions was recognized, and attempts were made to keep records and predict future events. The first practical function of astronomy was to provide a basis for the calendar, the units of month and year being determined by astronomical observations. Later, astronomy served in navigation and timekeeping. The Chinese had a working calendar as early as the 13th cent. B.C. About 350 B.C., Shih Shen prepared the earliest known star catalog, containing 800 entries. Ancient Chinese astronomy is best known today for its observations of comets and supernovas. The Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians were also active in astronomy. The earliest astronomers were priests, and no attempt was made to separate astronomy from astrology. In fact, an early motivation for the detailed study of planetary positions was the preparation of horoscopes.

 

–The highest development of astronomy in the ancient world came with the Greeks in the period from 600 B.C. to A.D. 400. The methods employed by the Greek astronomers were quite distinct from those of earlier civilizations, such as the Babylonian. The Babylonian approach was numerological and best suited for studying the complex lunar motions that were of overwhelming interest to the Mesopotamian peoples. The Greek approach, on the contrary, was geometric and schematic, best suited for complete cosmological models. Thales, an Ionian philosopher of the 6th cent. B.C., is credited with introducing geometrical ideas into astronomy. Pythagoras, about a hundred years later, imagined the universe as a series of concentric spheres in which each of the seven “wanderers” (the sun, the moon, and the five known planets) were embedded. Euxodus developed the idea of rotating spheres by introducing extra spheres for each of the planets to account for the observed complexities of their motions. This was the beginning of the Greek aim of providing a theory that would account for all observed phenomena. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) summarized much of the Greek work before him and remained an absolute authority until late in the Middle Ages. Although his belief that the earth does not move retarded astronomical progress, he gave the correct explanation of lunar eclipses and a sound argument for the spherical shape of the earth.

#3. http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980215e.html

–There are many ancient astronomers from many cultures all around the world, many of whom have their name lost over the ages. For example, we do not know who or when the planets were recognized as being different from stars. In some sense, most ancient people were ‘astronomers’ since all lived under non-light-polluted dark skies and everyone wonders what is up there. The names of the Egyptian, Mayan, and Chaldean astronomers are all lost, even if we know of some of their results. The best known astronomers are those associated with the development of the modern scientific results. For example, Hipparchus (Greek ~3 century BC) discovered the precession of the equinoxes, Ptolemy (Greek in Alexandria ~100 AD) systematized the geocentric system of planets, Copernicus (Polish, 1500s) proposed the heliocentric system, Kepler (Czech?, ~1600) came up with detailed laws for planetary motion, Galileo (Italian early 1600s) made great discoveries with his telescope, Newton (English, late 1600s) discovered the basic laws of Physics that allow us to understand the cosmos, and Edwin Hubble (American, died ~1940) who discovered that the Universe is expanding.

The history of astronomy is a very long one and astronomy has been pursued by all cultures, so there is a very wide range of tools. Before the discovery of the telescope, the only observing devices that people could use was the human eye, perhaps aided by any of a variety of sighting devices. Thus, the Chinese used armillary spheres, Tycho Brahe (Danish late 1500’s) used long sighting ‘tubes’, neolithic farmers made Stonehenge to point to midsummer sunrise, and Ptolemy noted planet positions with respect to stars. After the discovery of the telescope, there was a steady push to larger-and-larger telescopes. Starting around the 1800’s, various instruments, like micrometers and spectrometers, were constructed to give very detailed measures of the light coming from stars. Starting around 1900, the photographic plate and then the CCD camera, have revolutionized astronomy due to their great sensitivity.

#4. http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Earth/AncientAstronomy.html

–For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been fascinated by the patterns of stars in the sky above Earth. Early on, they noticed that the Moon changed shape from night to night as well as its position among the stars.

Early people noticed constellations of stars in the sky that looked like animals and people, and made up stories about what they thought they saw. In fact, the oldest records we have of astronomical observations are 30,000-year-old paintings found on the walls of caves.

Calendars. The first astronomers created calendars from changes they saw in the Moon. Some ancient people around 5,000 years ago set up large stones to mark the movement of the Sun and other stars.

–Ancient natives of North American lined up circles of stones with the Sun and stars to chart the rising Sun and the begining of summers.

In southern Mexico, the Mayans built special buildings to watch the Moon and the planet Venus. They had a calendar by 800 A.D. that was more accurate than the calendar used in Europe.

Ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile River to flood their fields and make it possible to grow crops. They became the first to use a calendar with a 365-day year after their priests discovered that flooding returned about every 365 days.

#5. http://www.sir-ray.com/Ancient%20Astronomy.htm

–Around 3000 BCE, the first Stonehenge consisted of a ditch and bank enclosing a ring of 56 pits.  These were later named Aubrey Holes after the 17th century antiquarian John Aubrey who discovered them.  Around 2500 BCE, the 4 ton bluestone megaliths were brought from the Preseli mountains in Wales.  Around 2300 BCE, 30 sarsens (sandstone uprights), each weighing over 25 tons, were positioned in a circle and capped with morticed stone lintels.  Seven centuries later two mysterious rings of pits were dug around the Stones.  Over time, the landscape around Stonehenge underwent substantial change and development. In the Neolithic period long barrows and huge earthworks such as the Cursus and Durrington Walls were created.  During the Bronze Age hundreds of round barrows were built for the burial of chieftains or leaders, often with supplies to support them on their journey into the next world.  The Avenue, a ceremonial approach to the Stones aligned on the midsummer sunrise, was also built around this period.

–The Big Horn Medicine Wheel is a prehistoric Native American rock structure laid down about 2,500 years ago by an Aztec-Tanoan culture that occupied the infamous Bighorn Canyon and adjacent areas between 1500 BCE and 500 CE.

The Wheel lies at an elevation of 9,642 feet, 11 miles south of the Montana Boundary.  Medicine Wheel was first discovered by Crow Indian hunters nearly 300  years ago. They became deathly afraid of its “bad medicine” and no Indians of any tribe dared go near it after the news had spread across the Plains. Because of the structure’s resemblance to a giant wagon wheel with hub, spokes, and a rim, white trappers called it a wheel. Until 1992 its true interpretation was unknown, although many theories were advanced without real study.

As an archeolinguistic artifact, the Medicine Wheel tells how the first people on earth, (Uto-Aztecan) emerged as spirits out of the Underworld via a conduit topped by the large central rock cairn, to be driven by a spirit vectored force into an inwardly opening rim-touching cairn where they became born as human beings.  Where an offset cairn lies 12 feet outside the Wheel’s rim, the greatly feared evil ghosts of dead Uto-Aztecans were uplifted  into the Afterworld in the Milky Way directly above the structure’s central exit cairn.

The rim of the structure symbolized the cosmological horizon of the Milky Way. Four external rim-touching cairns symbolize the four preceding eras in the world’s history closed completely in time; they could not be entered by either the spirits rising from the Underworld nor by the ghosts en route to the  Afterworld. On the inside a rim-touching, larger cairn opens toward the central cairn via a spoked channel to symbolize the Fifth Era of Current Existence in  which all humanity plays its varied parts.  In this era the Underworld spirits become human beings living a normal life span.

#6. http://www.crystalinks.com/greekastronomy.html

–Most ancient civilizations watched the heavens as patterns in the sky that allowed the to know when the seasons changed – among other things. They built great stone monuments called astronomical observatories such as Stonehenge as celestials clocks to mark these events and the passage of time.

They believed their gods lived in the skies and named them and the constellations after them. This is the reason astrology, astrology and mythology all follow the same patterns. In the end – the answers are in the sky as they come from above. In metaphysics we call this moving into higher frequency than what we experience in our third dimensional bodies. Our creators are from higher realms. They have powers that are lost to us in the physical body. Many seek to activate those powers now.

Since the first Egyptian farmers discovered the annual reappearance of Sirius just before dawn a few days before the yearly rising of the Nile, ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean have sought to explain the movements of the heavens as a sort of calendar to help guide them conduct Earthly activities.

Counting phases of the moon or observing the annual variations of day length could, after many years of observations, serve as vital indicators for planting and harvesting times, safe or stormy season for sailing, or time to bring the flocks from winter to summer pastures.

With our millennia of such observation behind us, we sometimes forget that seeing and recording anything less obvious than the rough position of sun or nightly change of moon phase requires inventing both accurate observation tools (a stone circle, a gnomon used to indicate the sun’s shadow, a means to measure the position of stars in the sky) and a system of recording that could be understood by others.

The ancient Greeks struggled with these problems too, using both native technology and inquiry, and drawing upon the large body of observations and theories gradually gleaned from their older neighbors across the sea, Egypt and Babylonia.

Gradually moving from a system of gods and divine powers ordering the world to a system of elements, mathematics, and physical laws, the Greeks slowly adapted old ideas to fit into a less supernatural, hyper-rational universe.

As ancient peoples began to realize that sun, moon and stars follow certain rhythms in step with the seasons, they made the leap of thought to postulate that some conscious set of rules must be dictating these movements and seasonal changes which, for agrarian or pastoral societies, were a matter of life or starvation. Who or what could be causing these all-important changes to come about? Certainly nothing on earth, no beast or human, had the power. Thus gods were born.

#7. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/Ancient-Astronomers-Were-No-Fools-138048718.html

–There’s no doubt ancient astronomers were clever folk. Realizing Earth was round, estimating the Sun’s distance, discovering heliocentricity — it’s quite a list. But Brad Schaefer (Louisiana State University) suggested at the 2012 American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin that we should add another light bulb to the glow shining from history: ancient astronomers may have corrected for dimming caused by the atmosphere, centuries before anyone came up with a physical model for it.

–This dimming is called atmospheric extinction. Extinction happens because starlight has to pass through Earth’s atmosphere in order to reach us. But the effect isn’t uniform: if you spend time stargazing you’ve probably noticed that a star high up in the sky’s dome looks brighter than it does as it slides toward the horizon. That’s because light coming to us from near the horizon passes through more atmosphere than if it shines straight down from overhead. (The Sun looks redder at sunset and sunrise for the same reason.)

Astronomers have catalogued stars’ magnitudes for at least two millennia, all the way back to an ancient document called the Almagest. It was the Almagest that Schaefer began with — but his goal wasn’t to determine if astronomers in olden days accounted for extinction. He wanted to use the brightnesses reported in it to decide a long-standing debate over who wrote the catalog in the first place, Hipparchus of Rhodes (circa 150 BC) or Ptolemy of Alexandria (circa AD 150).

–When Schaefer looked at catalogs from two other renowned astronomers, al-Sufi (10th century) and Tycho Brahe (16th century), he also found extinction corrections.

The result has surprised many astronomers because there are no historical records mentioning extinction. The first physical explanation for extinction came in the 1700s from the French scientist Pierre Bouguer, and while extinction is obvious to an experienced observer, “it’s rather surprising that [the ancients] did a sophisticated and pretty accurate correction for something they don’t talk about and no one ever knew they knew about,” Schaefer says.

#8. http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/ancient-astronomers-developed-first-known-writing-001098

–Scientists need theories, archaeologists perhaps even more so, but despite countless scientists studying countless archaeological sites for thousands of years, we are no-where closer to answering the important question: Did an ancient civilization travel the world thousands of years ago, and seed the creation of multiple later civilizations?

Though Pyramid structures and unusually large stone structures are routinely discovered throughout the world, it is impossible using current theory to say that they are connected. Archaeologists to put it bluntly are simply not very good at comparing “similar” objects. For a match to be made the artefacts have to be identical, and as no two archaeological artefacts discovered to date are identical they cannot ever be linked, no matter how similar they may look.

Now that position has been turned entirely on its head. A recent hypothesis made by Dr. Derek Cunningham, an independent researcher, might be on the point of changing everything. By joining four separate scientific fields, astronomy, the study of early written languages, cartography, and archaeology, Dr Cunningham has put forward an entirely new theory that ancient civilizations developed writing from a very archaic geometrical form that is based on the study of the motion of the moon and the sun.

–As a theory, the idea is very simple and most important of all, it is easily tested. The theory has also shown incredible consistency, with the idea fully explaining the development from archaic primitive proto-writing to the earliest modern writing styles starting from proto-Cuneiform.

The data also explains numerous gaps in current theories, such as the structure of until now unexplained lines present on the Stonehenge Bush Barrow Lozenge, an intricate gold foil pendant uncovered on the body of a high ranking person.

The theory also question the structure of the causeways located in front of the Great Pyramids, and presence of large enigmatic Giants, such as the Atacama Giant.

#9. http://www.telescopes-for-amateur-astronomers.com/ancient-astronomy.html

–In ancient astronomy such an idea of the universe was held by men from the earliest of times. In their perspective the earth was of vital importance.

The sun and moon were simply lamps for the day and for the night; and these, if not gods themselves, were at any rate under the charge of extraordinary deities, whose task it was to guide their motions across the vaulted sky.

Slowly and gradually, however, this simple estimate of nature began to be overturned. Challenging problems agitated the human mind. On what, for instance, did the solid earth rest, and what prevented the vaulted heaven from falling in upon men and crushing them out of existence?

In ancient astronomy extraordinary misguided beliefs sprang from vain attempts to solve these riddles. The Hindoos, for instance, believed the earth was supported by 4 elephants which stood on the back of a massive tortoise, which, in its turn, floated on the surface of an elemental ocean.

The early Western civilisations conceived the fable of the Titan Atlas, who, as a punishment for revolt against the Olympian gods, was condemned to hold up the expanse of sky for ever and ever.

–In his system the Earth occupied the centre; while around it circled in order outwards the Moon, the planets Mercury and Venus, the Sun, and then the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Beyond these again revolved the background of the heaven, upon which it was believed that the stars were fixed.

The Ptolemaic system persisted unshaken for about fourteen hundred years after the death of its author. Clearly men were flattered by the notion that their earth was the most important body in nature, that it stood still at the centre of the universe, and was the pivot upon which all things revolved.

#10. http://www.crystalinks.com/egyptastronomy.html

–One of the earliest advanced civilizations, Ancient Egypt, had a rich religious tradition which permeated every aspect of society. As in most early cultures, the patterns and behaviors of the sky led to the creation of a number of myths to explain the astronomical phenomena. For the Egyptians, the practice of astronomy went beyond legend. Huge temples and pyramids were built with specific astronomical orientations. Thus astronomy had both religious and practical purposes.

–The stars in Egyptian mythology were represented by the goddess of writing, Seshat, while the Moon was either Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing, or Khons, a child moon god.

The horizon was extremely important to the Egyptians, since it was here that the Sun appeared and disappeared daily. A hymn to the Sun god Ra shows this reverance: ‘O Ra! In thine egg, radiant in thy disk, shining forth from the horizon, swimming over the steel firmament.’ The Sun itself was represented by several gods, depending on its position. A rising morning Sun was Horus, the divine child of Osiris and Isis. The noon Sun was Ra because of its incredible strength.

The evening Sun became Atum, the creator god who lifted Pharoahs from their tombs to the stars. The red color of the Sun at sunset was considered to be the blood from the Sun god as he died. After the Sun had set, it became Osiris, god of death and rebirth. In this way, night was associated with death and day with life or rebirth. This reflects the typical Egyptian idea of immortality.

–An alternative building method was to gradually narrow successive doors into a specific room, in order to concentrate the sunbeams onto a god’s image on the wall. The designs sometimes became quite complex. At the temple of Medinet Habu, there are actually two buildings which are slightly off-kilter. It has been suggested that the second one was built when the altitude of the other temple’s orientation stars changed over a long period of time.

The Egyptians were a practical people and this is reflected in their astronomy in contrast to Babylonia where the first astronomical texts were written in astrological terms. Even before Upper and Lower Egypt were unified in 3000 BCE, observations of the night sky had influenced the development of a religion in which many of its principal deities were heavenly bodies.

In Lower Egypt, priests built circular mud-brick walls with which to make a false horizon where they could mark the position of the sun as it rose at dawn, and then with a plumb-bob note the northern or southern turning points (solstices). This allowed them to discover that the sun disc, personified as Ra, took 365 days to travel from his birthplace at the winter solstice and back to it. Meanwhile in Upper Egypt a lunar calendar was being developed based on the behavior of the moon and the reappearance of Sirius in its heliacal rising after its annual absence of about 70 days.

After unification, problems with trying to work with two calendars (both depending upon constant observation) led to a merged, simplified civil calendar with twelve 30 day months, three seasons of four months each, plus an extra five days, giving a 365 year day but with no way of accounting for the extra quarter day each year. Day and night were split into 24 units, each personified by a deity.

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Posted by on June 20, 2017 in academics, astronomy, Bible, education, faith, history, leadership, science, theology

 

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