Lecture2 - Signature Course UGS 303 (Fall 2009) The History...

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1 The History and Philosophy of Astronomy (Lecture 2: Prehistory, Egypt, Babylon) Instructor: Volker Bromm The University of Texas at Austin Department of Astronomy Signature Course UGS 303 (Fall 2009) When did astronomy begin? Paleolithic cave art Lascaux (~16,000 BC) Stars?
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2 The Beginning of Astronomy • Possible Motivations: - Religion, creation myths, state ideology - Timing of important events: rituals, agriculture calendars - Navigation - … • Early Astronomy: - Prehistory (e.g., Stone-Age Britain): no written record we can only speculate - Ancient Egypt: calendar (to predict Nile Food) - Mesopotamia/Babylon: search for patterns diligent gatherers of data The Naked-Eye Sky: Basic Facts Earth ʼ s daily rotation celestial sphere moves East to West
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3 Daily motion of the stars No change in relative positions fxed stars Quick reminder: Why does concept of celestial sphere work (from our present-day perspective)?
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4 Tropic vs Temperate Sky Tropical Location (e.g., Northern Yucatan) High-latitude Location (e.g., Britain) The Naked-Eye Sky: Basic Facts Earth ʼ s annual motion around Sun: - in plane of the ecliptic - Earth ʼ s axis of rotation is skewed toward ecliptic plane
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Lecture2 - Signature Course UGS 303 (Fall 2009) The History...

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