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Astronomy 1210, Week 3 of Notes

by: Raleigh Zook

Astronomy 1210, Week 3 of Notes ASTR 1210

Marketplace > University of Virginia > Astronomy > ASTR 1210 > Astronomy 1210 Week 3 of Notes
Raleigh Zook
GPA 3.55

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About this Document

These notes discuss different theories pertaining to astronomy, how the science of astronomy was formed, and how it developed throughout the years.
Introduction to the Sky and Solar System
Remy Indebebetouw
Class Notes
astronomy, Cosmology, origin, Plato, Aristotle, Science
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Raleigh Zook on Thursday February 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ASTR 1210 at University of Virginia taught by Remy Indebebetouw in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Introduction to the Sky and Solar System in Astronomy at University of Virginia.


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Date Created: 02/11/16
Modern Western Astronomy (Theories and History) Week 3 Ancient Astronomy consists of the 1000s BC, Pre-Columbian America in 500-1500 CE, and the beginnings of Modern Western Astronomy in the 1500s. Ø How did these astronomical observations help these societies? It helped track time and seasons, which were used for practical purposes (e.g. agriculture). It was also used for religious, ceremonial, and navigational purposes. --Specific example: Ancient central Africa, around 6500 BC, predicted seasons due to the location of the crescent moon-- From this, they could monitor the moon’s cycles, planets, stars, keep track of time and seasons, keep a calendar, predict eclipses, and build structures that would allow them to calculate accurate astronomical measurements Ø This is known as archeoastronomy. • Cave paintings! Lascaux Caves in France • Stonehenge • Different versions in Japan, India, Brazil, Chichén Itzá, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Scotland • Egyptian pyramids However! These alignments may have been inaccurate since they were ‘too easy’. Ø Progress in Middle East • Babylon (2000 BC-0 BC) o 360° o Predicting eclipses, retrograde motion of planets o Divided the day into 12 pieces (Like what is used now in 12 hours in the a.m. and p.m.); 7 days a week o Advanced geometry to keep track of Jupiter (400-100 BC) Ø Mesoamerican Calendar o Built around a number of different cycles in a 260 day (13 in 20 days: Amount of levels where the gods resided within the Upperworld OR the number of joints) o Tzolk’in (Maya) o Mayan Long Count § Reason for the ‘End of the World’ on Dec. 20, 2012 Ø Ancient Greeks o Scientific method—developed § To further understanding, whether it is of the universe, our biology, our culture, or philosophical roots Ø Axial Age, 800-200 BC o Philosophy began o Modern ideas developed in Greece, Middle East, and the Far East o Modern religions and philosophies started taking hold—Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Sophism, Pslatonism o Models were employed to provide an explanation for nature Ø Naturalistic Reason o Instead of using myths as explanations, they used natural, physical reasons o Thales believed the world was floating on the ocean and earthquakes was the earth shaking on the water—natural, no supernatural or spiritual being o Used geometry to figure out size of the sun; Navigation o Rudimentary cosmology § Apeiron—“universal substance” o Planets are real Ø Pythagoras o Naturalistic reasons for the universe (even to an extreme)—universe based on perfection o Pythagorean Paradigm consisted of three main points: § Uniform speed of planets, Sun, and moon § They moved in perfect circular orbits § Earth was the center: geo-centrism Ø Sophism o Sophistes were the poets and teachers o Evolution of thinking; Naturalistic thinking failed, so there is an alternate way of thinking of the universe o Not an absolute, naturalistic truth—everyone’s reality and truth is their own o Rhetoric and verbal challenges o Relativism: Own experiences understood through our own bias—“beauty is in the eye of the beholder” o Protagoras—man measures all o Open-mindedness § Considering both side of the arguments and logically discard the weakest one Ø Sokrates o Socratic Method § Creating a hypothesis by breaking down a problem into groups of questions o Thesis and antithesis—resolving conflict thorugh rational discussion (Socratic seminars) o Examine premises and show that a hypothesis ultimately ends up leading to a contradiction o More rigorous way of thinking about things Ø Plato o Came out of Socratic schools o Pure forms were the model for physical objects o Deductive argument § Priori principles o Certainty; Mathematics (Perception) and Application of Math o Logical way of thinking o Plato’s Academy Ø Aristotle o Came out of Platonic school o Rigorous—Deductive logic (General, correct hypothesis for a specific, correct conclusion); Also promoted inductive logic (specific observations form broader generalizations) o Reductio ad absurdum was formalized o Qualitative arguments, however many were inaccurate Ø Plato à Aristotle o Mystical viewpoint to structured argument o Rationalism and a priori argument o Empiricism nd Ø Crates of Mallus (2 Century BC) o What they thought the Earth was Ø Eratosthenes o Measured the Earth in 240 BC by calculating shadows’ angles and latitude Ø Distance to the sun and the size of the moon, Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC) o Deviation from 90° = 1/6° (Difficult to measure) o Led toward the notion that the sun is not moving since it is really far away and so large Random Points made in Lecture: Ø LIGO --Measures wavelengths (with laser) à Light hits mirror and refract back, measure distance and time—Gravitational pull distorts it to make it elongate Ø Difference of a planet and star --Stars relative to one another --Planets don’t ‘twinkle’ Ø 7 day week o Christianity and Judaism o China around 600 BC—Every set of seven days were known as “qi-yao” o Hindu Ramayana around 500 BC o Weekdays were named after the Sun, Moon, and the ‘visible’ planets (5)


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