By De Pree Ch., Axelrod A.
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He also taught that the earth was a globe—not a cylinder and certainly not flat—and that it was fixed within a sphere that held the stars. The planets and the sun moved against this starry background. 25 03 1981 CH02 6/11/01 9:11 AM Page 26 Part 1 ➤ Finding Our Place in Space Anaxagoras Explains Eclipses Anaxagoras (ca. 500–ca. ) believed that the earth was flat, but speculated that the sun was a large, red-hot body and that the moon was much like the earth, complete with mountains and ravines.
Draftsmen of the Constellations? Babylonian astronomers systematically used a set of 30 stars as reference points to record the celestial position of various phenomena. , the neighboring Chaldeans invaded and captured Babylon. Although they ransacked the 21 03 1981 CH02 6/11/01 9:11 AM Page 22 Part 1 ➤ Finding Our Place in Space Babylonian capital, the Chaldeans did not ignore the astronomy of their conquered foes. Indeed, they seem to have gone well beyond merely identifying 30 reference stars and actually recorded some of the first constellation patterns.
During the reign of Hammurabi, the Babylonian king who gave the world its first code of laws, the so-called Venus Tablet was inscribed, devoted to interpreting the behavior of that planet. Babylonian astronomers believed that the movements and positions of planets with respect to the constellations could influence the fate of kings and nations. This interest in the positions of planets as a portent of the future was one early motivation for careful study of the heavens. 20 03 1981 CH02 6/11/01 9:11 AM Page 21 Chapter 2 ➤ Ancient Evenings: The First Watchers It is easy to imagine why, of all the planets, Venus captured the attention of the Babylonians.
Astronomy by De Pree Ch., Axelrod A.