Prehistoric Astronomy

Prehistoric Astronomy Babylonians in about 1600 B.C. calculated the time of eclipse and position of planets; and recorded their astronomical observations. Other civilizations and cultures like Indians, early Chinese, Central American and North European developed a method for calculating the position of the Sun, planets and other astronomical objects. PH-01     PH-02 Probably the most famous ancient astronomical calculator is Stonehenge, located on the Salisbury plain in the south of England. Three groups of people built Stonehenge between 2000 B.C.E. and 1600 B.C.E. Earlier timber and stone circles were built in the British Isles dating back to the late Neolithic period in Britain, about 3000 B.C.E. Nobody in modern times had a clue of the full power of Stonehenge as an astronomical calculator until 1965, when Gerald S. Hawkins published his revolutionary book, Stonehenge Decoded. Stonehenge could calculate times in the solar year and times in the lunar month. PH-03 People of Stonehenge calculated the occurrence of eclipse every 56 years which was short by one year derived by the Greek astronomer Meton and the Babylonians. When three white and three black stones were moved around the 56 Aubrey Holes in Stonehenge temple, eclipse will occur when one of these stones moves to a certain Aubrey Hole. Fred Hoyle, a British astronomer and Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University, proposed a theory that to track the Sun, Moon, and it’s Node the stones could be moved around the Aubrey Holes on a regular basis. An eclipse would occur when the three stones coincide or come opposite to one other. There are other regions countries which also have long history of astronomical observations and predictions. It is believed that the oldest astronomers in the history of time are Australian Aborigines; the very word aborigine means “people who have been here since the beginning.” Aborigines used the celestial objects into their religious and civil lives at least 40,000 years ago. Tool artifacts from 20,000 years ago have been discovered and the artwork of that era suggest that Aborigines used astronomical objects such as stars, for the planning of hunting, rituals, festivals, food gathering, customs and navigation. They made precise observations of astronomical objects and phenomenon without using viewing instruments.

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