Page 14 - The 'X' Chronciles Newspaper - June / July 2018 Edition






Page 14 - The 'X' Chronciles Newspaper - June / July 2018 Edition
P. 14

14                                           Ancient Astronomers

               Ancient Astronomers                        of its kind so far discovered. Like Stonehenge,  you that the Egyptian pyramids are time
                                                          it marks sunrise and sunset at midsummer, but  machines, UFO bases, or gates to other
          Astronomy wasn’t invented a couple of           other than that, no one knows who built it or  dimensions.  Thank heavens (no pun intended)
            hundred years ago. The study of the           what else it might be for.  The site was       for the Mayans of Mexico, who left detailed
             stars is almost as old as humanity           abandoned after two thousand years, just before  written documents to explain the astronomy
                             itself.                      the rise of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Did the  behind the construction of their pyramids. It
                                                          ancient Egyptians get their astronomical       turns out that the Mayans had a highly
                                                          knowledge from an older civilization in the    developed calendar system, using astronomical
          The oldest and most famous cave paintings
                                                          Sahara?                                        events to fix magical dates for sacrifices and
          (16,000 to 20,000 years old) are in Lascaux,
                                                                                                         other rituals.  Their pyramids were built on
          France.  The animal and human figures in the
          cave were long thought to be symbols of magic   SERIOUS ABOUT SIRIUS                           alignments that pointed toward the positions of
          or worship meant to help hunters. Eventually    The star Sirius was worshiped by a whole range  the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars at these special
          someone noticed that the dots of paint that     of ancient peoples, from the Arabs and ancient  dates. It can be definitely proven that the
          decorate the animals are actually diagrams of   Egyptians to the  West  African tribes of the  Egyptian pyramids, or similar ziggurats of
          groups of stars. Most of the constellations have  Dogon and the Bozo (don’t laugh, they’re real).  ancient Mestpotamia, were built on the same
          different symbols today, but the giant bull     The Egyptians built whole rows of temples      kind of idea, but the astronomical alignments are
          (possibly th best known image in cave art) is   pointing at the spot  on the horizon where Sirius  similar, and so far, no one has come up with a
          actually the constellation we still call Taurus -  would rise each year. This was the beginning of  better explanation.
          the bull. His eye is the star Aldebaran, and a V-  their calendar year and marked the flooding of
          shaped decoration of dots around it represents  the Nile. For them, Sirius was the resting place  A FEW OF MAYAN FAVORITE
          the Pleiades star cluster.                      of the dead and the most important star in the THINGS
                                                          sky.                                           For the Mayans, the two most interesting objects
          NOT JUST A PILE OF STONES                                                                      in the sky were the planet Venus and the Sun.
                                                          THE INVISIBLE SUPERSTAR                        While Stonehenge and other ancient sites fixed
          The first ancient monument to be identified as
          an astronomical observatory was England’s       Among the Arabs and some tribes in Mali, there  the position of the midsummer sun at dawn, the
                                                          was a belief that Sirius had a companion, which  Mayans used the moment when it was directly
          Stonehenge.It’s attracted a lot of interest from
                                                          the tribesmen called the Eye Star, and which   overhead.  Venus dips below the horizon at a
          wanna-be Druids over the years, but current
                                                          was supposed to have supernatural qualities.   variable date in the year and rises about 50 days
          researchers think it was built and rebuilt by
                                                          Sirius really does have a companion: a small   later.  The Mayans were able to calculate this
          three separate cultures between 5,000 and 3,000
                                                          white dwarf called Sirius B, which is not visible  period, and they were also able to predict
          years ago. While it’s not clear exactly what it
                                                          to the naked eye. So how did these primitive   eclipses.  They marked these occasions with
          was used for, the astronomical alignment of the
          stones are unquestionable. The stones mark out  people know about it? The Dogon have precise   human sacrifices and chose days to go to war by
          the sunrise at midsummer and midwinter, and     astronomical information about its movements,  consulting their astronomical calendars.
          the rising and the setting of the moon (which   which they celebrate with rituals, even though
                                                          they admit that it’s invisible. They even had a STONEHENGE, U.S.A.
          repeats in a cycle of 8.6 years). Some people
                                                          story about a third star, the Star of  Women,  In the Hills of Wyoming, there’s an ancient stone
          claim to have found many more significant
                                                          which was also invisible, And guess what? In   construction called the Big Horn Medicine
          alignments and have suggested that Stonehenge
                                                          1995 it was discovered  that there really is a  Wheel, which some have called the American
          could have been used to predict eclipses - pretty
                                                          third star, a red dwarf that’s been named Sirius  Stonehenge. A similar construction is the Moose
          sophisticated stuff. But did the Druids actually
                                                          C.                                             Mountain Wheel in Alberta, Canada. Both were
          make these calculations? We’ll probably never
          know.                                                                                          sacred sites for local Native  Americans, but
                                                          PYRAMID SCHEME                                 archaeologists date them from before the Plains
          STONEHENGE SOUTH                                Because questions remain about the alignment   Indians arrived to some unknown indigenous
                                                          of ancient monuments, the field is wide open for  people.
          Just as mysterious is the recently discovered
                                                          speculation. New Agers (who speculate wildly
          stone circle of Nabta, Egypt, which at 7,000
                                                          at least three times before breakfast) will tell                      (Continued on Page 15)
          years old is the oldest astronomical observatory
   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19