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NC Astronomers Meets
At the Madelyn Helling Library
Community Room
980 Helling Way
Nevada City, CA 95959

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   Feb 5
  1st Wednesday
   7pm - 9pm

Ancient Astronomy - Part 2

The Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks

David Buchla

Part 1 of this talk (given in the January meeting) included an overview of phenomena associated with all ancient cultures and showed ancient stone structures with specific alignments (particularly Stonehenge).  It also included a discussion of Michael Molnar’s 1999 theory of the Star of Bethlehem, which is based partly on astrology at the time. Due to time restraints, discussion of Babylonia and Egypt is moved to Part 2.  Part 2 will primarily cover the ancient astronomy associated with the Mediterranean area – namely the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks.  

The earliest records were from the Babylonians. The Greeks overlapped some of the Babylonian science with their own innovations. They went from "flat earthers" with many fanciful myths of the heavens run by the gods to forming reasonable models for the solar system based on observations. They constructed geometric models of their science; one model in particular is considered the first analog computer (the Antikythera Mechanism). The ancient Greeks borrowed from the Babylonians but were sophisticated observers on their own right and they set the stage for the development of modern science. 

Time permitting, we may cover some of the instruments developed in ancient China. Chinese observation records were the most accurate and detailed in the world with huge star catalogs and records of comets, supernova, and meteor showers included. David has visited the ancient observatory in Beijing and will share a few of his photos of the instruments.  

 

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