Ancient Greek Astronomy: Measuring the Solar System

Eratosthenes teaching in Alexandria, by Bernardo Strozzi / Montreal Museum of Fine Arts via Wikimedia Commons The Greeks made the first real measurements of astronomical distances: the size of the earth and the distance to the moon, both determined quite accurately, and the distance to the sun, where their best estimate fell short by a factor of[…]

Ancients, Medievals, and Motion in the Heavens

Celestial map from 1670, by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler / 07.23.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia Introduction The purpose of this lecture is just to review the various motions observed in the heavens in the simplest,[…]

Kindred Skies: Ancient Greeks and Aboriginal Australians Saw Constellations in Common

Yurri and Wanjel – the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux in the Wergaia traditions of western Victoria, Australia. Stellarium/John Morieson and Alex Cherney, CC BY-SA Many of the constellations we know in the night sky come from myths of the ancientGreeks. But similar stories are told by the oldest living cultures on Earth, including those of Australia. By Dr. Duane M. Hamacher /[…]