Monday, October 26, 2009

Why did astronomy spread and grow?

The earliest atronomers were priests and holy men, studying the movement of celestial bodies to chart celebrations and planting cycle. Their knowledge and theories of the Universe spread through two routes - trade and war. As great empires expanded, their gods, cultures, and learning influenced other cultures as well.

The ancient Babylonians were amongst the first to start developing theories about the design of the Universe. The Greeks and Romans later adopted the Babylonian system, replacing the names with the names of their own Gods. The earliest astronomical records are in the form of clay tablets that have been discovered in what was once Mesopotamia.

Early observers of the heavens realized that the repeated motions of the Sun, Moon and stars could be fashioned into a clock to tell the time of the day, and a calendar to mark the progression of the seasons. Many of the ancient monuments, in fact, show some of the features of an astronomical observatory.

Did you know that the earliest observatory to have survived is in Korea? It is a simple beehive structure with a hole in the roof.

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