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Thinking about ancient times.


maw lod qan
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I'm sitting here waiting a minute before I go in to work. Its 3:38, Mars is brilliant just past the zenith, a beautiful moon rising in the East.

Looking at them with just my eyes, sometimes I just cant help but think of all the humans that have done the same thing, stood there for just a moment to gaze up into the night sky in wonder, before going on with their day.

Hopefully Wed. morning will be this clear.

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"When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, The Moon and stars that you have prepared, What is mortal man that you keep him in mind, And the son of man that you take care of him?"   (King David - Psalm 8:3&4). 

When you take the time as you have, just to sit back and meditate on the awesomeness and history of observing the heavens, and contemplating all those who have gone before, we can't help but to be awestruck by the magnitude of everything we see. Of course many of those who went before had clearer and darker skies, but no telescopes. Which would be better? I'm not so certain!

Edited by mikeDnight
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2 hours ago, maw lod qan said:

I'm sitting here waiting a minute before I go in to work. Its 3:38, Mars is brilliant just past the zenith, a beautiful moon rising in the East.

Looking at them with just my eyes, sometimes I just cant help but think of all the humans that have done the same thing, stood there for just a moment to gaze up into the night sky in wonder, before going on with their day.

Hopefully Wed. morning will be this clear.

There is something incredibly meditative about sitting there looking up. Even hunkered down in the dark corner of my urban garden.

During breaks in an observing session, there's very few things more relaxing than just slouching in a garden chair, enjoying the quiet of the night and watching the heavens wonder around me.

It's no wonder peoples past, unbound by modern knowledge and technologies, created stories and myths. Looking to the skies to inspire and guide their lives.

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10 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

Agree with all of this but I doubt if early mankind spent much time outside after dark due to predators.     🙂

All the evidence suggests otherwise, although it's possible the cavemen tied a vine around one person's waist, before chucking him out to see what the sky says... "Ugh screamin' pulllll, ugh"

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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15 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

All the evidence suggests otherwise, although it's possible the cavemen tied a vine around one person's waist, before chucking him out to see what the sky says... "Ugh screamin' pulllll, ugh"

Maybe the earliest form of "Clearoutside"?😁

That feeling of being lost in wonder is something that strikes at soul level and add to that the dimension how it links us directly to our ancestors, its a powerful humanity definining emotional experience. There's always the possibilty I could be talking twaddle but thats how I see it! 🤔😊

 

 

 

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Interesting thread :icon_biggrin:

I often do just look up and wonder at it all. That's very much part of the enjoyment for me.

I also wonder what would have been the impact on scientific thinking if, for example, one of today's amateur scopes, eg: a Skywatcher ED100, was somehow sent back through time so that it was available to Galileo ?

How would that have changed thinking at that time and subsequent thinking and the pace of understanding ?

I really don't know the answer but it's fun to speculate sometimes :icon_biggrin:

Edited by John
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8 hours ago, John said:

Interesting thread :icon_biggrin:

I often do just look up and wonder at it all. That's very much part of the enjoyment for me.

I also wonder what would have been the impact on scientific thinking if, for example, one of today's amateur scopes, eg: a Skywatcher ED100, was somehow sent back through time so that it was available to Galileo ?

How would that have changed thinking at that time and subsequent thinking and the pace of understanding ?

I really don't know the answer but it's fun to speculate sometimes :icon_biggrin:

Are you kidding?

The powers to be would have locked that away into the Area 51 of that day!

Man and his beliefs can be a difficult thing to change, even when the spots on the Sun were as plain as a pimple on your nose!😏

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9 hours ago, John said:

I also wonder what would have been the impact on scientific thinking if, for example, one of today's amateur scopes, eg: a Skywatcher ED100, was somehow sent back through time so that it was available to Galileo ?

I think he would have been in his element. However if we sent back the full stack of even a basic astro set-up including a tracking mount and a red-dot finder (and some batteries!) it might have completely stopped him in his tracks - too much to try to understand that was well beyond the standards of the time. Even he might have started to believe in magic or the Devine!

I passed a few hours in the Galileo Museum in Florence and was stunned at the rigour of his method. So many precision instruments built to prove the fundamentals of distance, angles, acceleration, etc. Everything taken from first principles and based on proven fact. He got excommunicated for his troubles. Some things haven't changed eh? 

I always think of him when I see Jupiter and Saturn through a 'scope.

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21 hours ago, John said:

Interesting thread :icon_biggrin:

I often do just look up and wonder at it all. That's very much part of the enjoyment for me.

I also wonder what would have been the impact on scientific thinking if, for example, one of today's amateur scopes, eg: a Skywatcher ED100, was somehow sent back through time so that it was available to Galileo ?

How would that have changed thinking at that time and subsequent thinking and the pace of understanding ?

I really don't know the answer but it's fun to speculate sometimes :icon_biggrin:

Those 100mm aperture near perfect optics would have more uses than astronomy. If they worked out how to copy it, we would probably all belong to the 350 year Impero Italiano and be speaking Italian!

 

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The ancient night skies with zero light pollution, a vast milky way from horizon to horizon, shooting stars and the (very) occasional supernova like M1 Crab Nebula of c.1054AD must have inspired a lot of folklore (constellations in particular), superstition and awe, though on the other hand, they would have seen it on every clear night of their lives, good eyesight willing! The stone circles in my neck of the woods (typically recumbent stone circles in NE Scotland) are often regarded as celestial calendars or 'solstice calendars', though that in itself is a topic of great controversy. I'm inclined to believe they were at least partially constructed for that purpose.  Certainly burial mounds like the passage tomb at Newgrange in Ireland were - the winter solstice sunrise is directed through a port above the entrance and lights up the central chamber.

Not quite 'ancient' and off on a bit of a tangent here, but thinking of dark skies vs modern light pollution made me recall this map I saw a while back from the 'Terrible Maps' website...

I know I know..,sorry 🤣 

DJcYsfbXoAAGy5B.jpg

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