Astronomy - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 13 pages of information about Astronomy.
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Pre-Modern Astronomy

Astronomy has been called the world's second oldest profession. Notations found on artifacts scattered over Africa, Asia, and Europe dating from 30,000 B.C.E. appear to be rudimentary calendars based on the phases of the moon (Hartmann and Impey 1994). The transition from hunter-gatherers to life in stable villages, occurring around 10,000 B.C.E. with the rise of agriculture, required a refined estimation of the timing of seasonal changes. The sky, although no doubt deeply mysterious to these ancient cultures, was also reassuringly deterministic. By 4000 B.C.E., for instance, Egyptian astronomers knew that the first appearance of the brightest star in the dawn sky, Sirius, marked the beginning of the Nile's annual flooding. Many, probably most, cultures timed their agricultural activities based on similar annual celestial events.

The stars of course were also used for navigation. The Minoans of the island of Crete employed the stars to...

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This section contains 3,636 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Astronomy Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Astronomy from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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