Download Understanding the Heavens: Thirty Centuries of Astronomical by Professor Jean-Claude Pecker (auth.), Susan Kaufman (eds.) PDF

By Professor Jean-Claude Pecker (auth.), Susan Kaufman (eds.)

Astronomy is the oldest and such a lot basic of the average sciences. From the early beginnings of civilization astronomers have tried to provide an explanation for not just what the Universe is and the way it really works, but additionally the way it began, the way it developed to the current day, and the way it's going to improve sooner or later. the writer, a widely known astronomer himself, describes the evolution of astronomical principles, in brief discussing many of the instrumental advancements. utilizing a number of figures to clarify the mechanisms concerned, the e-book starts off with the astronomical principles of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian philosophers, strikes directly to the Greek interval, after which to the golden age of astronomy, i.e. to Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, and ends with glossy theories of cosmology. Written with undergraduate scholars in brain, this publication offers a desirable survey of astronomical thinking.

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Extra info for Understanding the Heavens: Thirty Centuries of Astronomical Ideas from Ancient Thinking to Modern Cosmology

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The modern values are practically the same. Thales was of course a philosopher and, as such, interested in everything. He had ideas ab out the nature of the Universe. For hirn, water was the essential component of everything. Earth floats on water, like a piece of wood, more or less a flat raft. This idea, quite primitive (Fig. 24), resembles that of the Hebrews or of the Egyptian papyri, but it has nothing to do with astronomical knowledge. Primitive ideas and more advanced astronomical ideas coexisted in Thales' thought.

For the explanation of this figure, see the caption for Fig. 21. Note that the one-year period (that of the Earth's motion around the Sun) is that of the interval between two successive loops for the outer planets. 21). 38 1 Before the Classical Greek Period conception (14th century). Even Ptolemy's model appears rather simple! It is not obvious how to proceed from the appearances to the models. 4 gives, in a condensed and rough way, a few important milestones in the history of astronomy in ancient Greece and later.

8. The precession o[ equinoxes. The polar axis ofthe Earth does not always point in the same direction N in the sky. It moves around a circle over aperiod of26000 years. It is now pointed to a location near the polar star. e. ec/iptic time, but, again, this is not the case. The two "years" do not have the same length. 8). With that period, the direction of the sky where the Sun is at the vernal equinox (the vernal point or y-point) drifts with respect to the stars and describes the co mplete zodiac.

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