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By Hugh Thurston

People should have watched the skies from time immemorial. people have continuously proven highbrow interest in abundance, and ahead of the discovery of contemporary distractions humans had extra time-and extra psychological energy-to dedicate to stargazing than we have now. Megaliths, chinese language oracle bones, Babylonian clay pills, and Mayan glyphs all yield evi­ dence of early peoples' curiosity within the skies. to appreciate early astronomy we have to be accustomed to a variety of phenomena that could-and nonetheless can-be visible within the sky. for example, apparently a few early humans have been attracted to the issues at the horizon the place the moon rises or units and marked the instructions of those issues with megaliths. those instructions wade through a sophisticated cycle-much extra complex than the cycle of the levels of the moon from new to complete and again to new, and extra advanced than the cycle of the emerging and surroundings instructions of the sunlight. different peoples have been drawn to the abnormal motions of the planets and within the manner within which the days of emerging of a number of the stars diverse throughout the 12 months, so we have to find out about those phenomena, i. e. , approximately retrogression and approximately heliacal emerging, to usc the technical phrases. The e-book opens with an evidence of those concerns. Early astronomers did greater than simply gaze in awe on the heavenly our bodies; they attempted to appreciate the complicated information in their pursuits. by means of three hundred H. C.

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For Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, the times when they become visible in the morning and the times when they cease to be visible in the evening can be recorded. So can the times when they are in opposition to the sun (because they rise as the sun sets and vice versa), and the times when they start and end their retrogressions. Rising Azimuths Because the planets move close to the ecliptic they rise and set at positions on the horizon close to where the sun rises and sets. There is some evidence that the Maya were interested in a rising-position of Venus-to be precise, in its most southerly rising-position.

4 meters radius in the vertical north-south plane, part of the ground being excavated to accommodate it: see Figure 1. 16(a). The quadrant was double, being constructed of two parallel walls (see Figures 1. 17). They were just far enough apart for an astronomer to sit between them and make observations, and were marked in degrees by grooves running across them. 16(c). In the middle of the rectangle was a slot along which the observer could move a peep-hole and read off the fractions of a degree on a scale alongside the slot.

This is because the sun is not a point, but has an appreciable size: its apparent diameter as seen from the earth is about ~o. 12 (which is far from being to scale) the sun casts a shadow of the rod PQ. , that the apparent width of the top as seen from R is not less than ~o. This means, if the rod is about 2 meters high, that it is more than about 3 cm thick). The stretch RS is lit by part of the sun's disk, and the shadow grows progressively lighter from R to S, where it disappears altogether.

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