Some beginning comments on the history of astronomy
- Astronomy developed (in many places) from time keeping and prediction
- But it is/was more important: it concerns the whole universe and
mankind's place in it.
- The stars seem relatively simple (although they are not). They seem
to be simply light sources fixed to a giant sphere that rotates around
the earth once a day.
- The sun seems relatively simple too. It seems to be carried around
with the stars once a day; and in addition it moves in a circle around
the ecliptic once per year.
- But the planets are a problem. They don't stay put on the celestial
sphere, and their motions are complicated.
- We begin with the ancient Greeks because our present understanding
of astronomy can be traced back, step by step, to there.
ASTR 121 Home
Davison E. Soper, Institute of Theoretical Science,
University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403 USA