Neolithic Astronomy in Britain

Perhaps the most mysterious ancient astronomy is that practiced by the neolithic people of Britain and Western Europe. Beginning around 3000 B.C. the people of this region began accumulating giant stones called megaliths and placing them in specific shapes with special orientations. The most famous example of this is Stonehenge, a site on a plain […]

A History of the Universe

OVERVIEW Big Bang Theory – an introduction to the backbone of cosmology Testing the Big Bang Model – theories and experiments throughout the years which have supported the idea of a Big Bang Cosmic Microwave Background radiation – a snapshot of the early universe which is shedding light on the Big Bang WMAP project – […]

Astronomy of Mesopotamia: Sumeria, Babylon, and Assyria

Astronomy began with the first settlements of agricultural societies. Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is today Iraq, was the birthplace of civilization almost 10,000 years ago. It is in ancient Sumeria that we find the oldest records of the study of astronomy. Babylon and Assyria were later civilizations in […]

Astronomy of Ancient India

Early Indian Astronomy The practices of astronomy and astrology in ancient India had their roots almost four thousand years ago. Much of what we know about Indian astronomy comes from the Sanskrit sacred books called the Vedas. These religious texts were a series of hymns composed over several hundred years, and offer intriguing insights into […]

Astronomy of the Incas

The Inca empire was a powerful social organization which amazingly only lasted a century before the Spanish conquest of the New World. It began when a military leader named Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui brought western South America under one rule, following the demise of the earlier Huari and Tiwanaku cultures. The new empire was centered politically […]

Ancient Astronomy of the North American Indians

The astronomy practiced by Native Americans is impossible to summarize in one explanation, since the tribes had such diverse traditions and legends. The impressive aspect of their astronomy lies in the fact that many of the tribes were hunters and gatherers. This contrasts sharply with the other ancient cultures studied here, which developed the practice […]

Astronomy of Ancient Cultures

The science of archaeoastronomy combines the fields of astronomy and archaeology with the goal of uncovering clues to the importance of astronomy in ancient cultures. The pages below focus on a variety of early civilizations, but regardless of their differences, it is apparent that these cultures had one thing in common: astronomy was a backbone […]

Ancient Egyptian Astronomy

One of the earliest advanced civilizations, Ancient Egypt, had a rich religious tradition which permeated every aspect of society. As in most early cultures, the patterns and behaviors of the sky led to the creation of a number of myths to explain the astronomical phenomena. For the Egyptians, the practice of astronomy went beyond legend: […]

Famous Astronomers

Thales Thales (624-547 B.C., Ionian) was a Greek philosopher who traveled widely in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and brought astronomical records from these cultures back to Greece. He believed that the Earth is a disk floating on an endless ocean. Legend has it that he correctly predicted a solar eclipse in the year 585 B.C. Anaximander […]

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