Astronomy in the Ancient World: Early and Modern Views on by Alexus McLeod

By Alexus McLeod

Alexus McLeod explores each element of the lesser-known heritage of astronomy within the Americas (Mesoamerica and North America), China and India, each one in the course of the body of a specific astronomical phenomena. half One considers the improvement of astronomy within the Americas as a reaction, partly, to the Supernova of 1054, that could have ended in a cultural renaissance in astronomy. He then is going directly to discover the modern knowing of supernovae, contrasting it with that of the traditional Americas. half is framed throughout the appearances of serious comets, which had significant divinatory value in early China. the writer discusses the development of observational astronomy in China, its effect on politics and its function within the survival or failure of empires. moreover, the modern knowing of comets is usually mentioned for comparability. half 3, on India, considers the impressive observatories of the Rajput king Jai Singh II, and the query in their goal. The origins of Indian astronomy are tested in Vedic proposal and its improvement is in the course of the interval of Jai Singh, together with the function performed through sunlight eclipses. the writer additionally encompasses a smooth clarification of our knowing of eclipses so far. within the ultimate element of the publication, McLeod discusses how historical traditions can help sleek civilization higher comprehend Earth’s position within the cosmos.

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11 The pyramid of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza (in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula) is often called ‘El Castillo’ today, the Spanish name given to it during the modern period. The pyramid was designed so that on the equinox days, the shadow created by the corners of the pyramid at sunset would fall on the staircases. The shadow made was meant to represent the descent from heaven of Kukulkan (the “plumed serpent” god known to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl). In this photo, the head of Kukulkan can be seen at the base of the pyramid, linked to the staircase and the equinoctial shadow forming the serpent body of Kukulkan, descending from the top of the pyramid ensure its continued rise each day.

It is only in this position, however, when it is on the other side of the sun from the earth, which is the furthest distance from the earth possible for Venus. In fact, we never directly observe (with the naked eye at least) a completely full Venus, as the planet is too close to the sun from our vantagepoint to be visible in this phase. In its crescent phase, Venus is on the same side of the sun as the Earth, and as close to it as possible. Thus, while we see less of the full disk of Venus lit, its apparent magnitude is greater because of the proximity of this light (Photo credit: NASA) orbit, it will be closest to the Earth when it is in its “new” phase (where Venus is between the sun and the Earth), and furthest from Earth in its “full” phase.

Unlike the moon, however, Venus is brightest in apparent magnitude when it is in its crescent phase, rather than its full phase. The reason for this is that we only see Venus as full when it is directly opposite the sun from us. It is only in this position, however, when it is on the other side of the sun from the earth, which is the furthest distance from the earth possible for Venus. In fact, we never directly observe (with the naked eye at least) a completely full Venus, as the planet is too close to the sun from our vantagepoint to be visible in this phase.

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