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History of Astronomy Arny, 3 rd Edition, Chapter 1.

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1 History of Astronomy Arny, 3 rd Edition, Chapter 1

2 History of Astronomy 2 Introduction  Western astronomy divides into 4 periods Prehistoric (before 500 B.C. ) Prehistoric (before 500 B.C. ) Cyclical motions of Sun, Moon and stars observed Cyclical motions of Sun, Moon and stars observed Keeping time and determining directions develops Keeping time and determining directions develops Classical (500 B.C. to A.D. 1400) Classical (500 B.C. to A.D. 1400) Measurements of the heavens Measurements of the heavens Geometry and models to explain motions Geometry and models to explain motions Renaissance (1400 to 1650) Renaissance (1400 to 1650) Accumulation of data lead to better models Accumulation of data lead to better models Technology (the telescope) enters picture Technology (the telescope) enters picture Modern (1650 to present) Modern (1650 to present) Physical laws and mathematical techniques Physical laws and mathematical techniques Technological advances accelerate Technological advances accelerate

3 History of Astronomy 3 Prehistoric Astronomy  Introduction People of antiquity most likely began studying the heavens many thousands of years ago. People of antiquity most likely began studying the heavens many thousands of years ago. Early astronomical observations certainly revealed the obvious: Early astronomical observations certainly revealed the obvious: Rising of the Sun in the eastern sky and its setting in the west Rising of the Sun in the eastern sky and its setting in the west Changing appearance of the Moon Changing appearance of the Moon Eclipses Eclipses Planets as a distinct class of objects different from the stars Planets as a distinct class of objects different from the stars

4 History of Astronomy 4 Prehistoric Astronomy  Introduction (continued) Many astronomical phenomena are cyclic on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis and consequently gave prehistoric people: Many astronomical phenomena are cyclic on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis and consequently gave prehistoric people: Methods for time keeping Methods for time keeping Ability to predict and plan future events Ability to predict and plan future events Incentive to build monumental structures such as Stonehenge Incentive to build monumental structures such as Stonehenge Modern civilization no longer relies on direct astronomical observations for time keeping and planning. Modern civilization no longer relies on direct astronomical observations for time keeping and planning. Studying the night sky provides link to past. Studying the night sky provides link to past.

5 History of Astronomy 5 Prehistoric Astronomy  The Celestial Sphere Vast distances to stars prevents us from sensing their true 3-D arrangement Vast distances to stars prevents us from sensing their true 3-D arrangement Naked eye observations treat all stars at the same distance, on a giant celestial sphere with the Earth at its center Naked eye observations treat all stars at the same distance, on a giant celestial sphere with the Earth at its center  Models and Science The celestial sphere is a model, which does not necessarily match physical reality The celestial sphere is a model, which does not necessarily match physical reality Models provide a means to enhance our understanding of nature Models provide a means to enhance our understanding of nature

6 History of Astronomy 6 Prehistoric Astronomy  Constellations Constellations are fixed arrangements of stars that resemble animals, objects, and mythological figures Constellations are fixed arrangements of stars that resemble animals, objects, and mythological figures Stars in a constellation are not physically related Stars in a constellation are not physically related Positions of stars change very slowly; constellations will look the same for thousands of years Positions of stars change very slowly; constellations will look the same for thousands of years Origin of the ancient constellations is unknown although they probably served as mnemonic devices for tracking the seasons and navigation Origin of the ancient constellations is unknown although they probably served as mnemonic devices for tracking the seasons and navigation

7 History of Astronomy 7 Prehistoric Astronomy  Motion of the Sun and the Stars Daily or Diurnal Motion Daily or Diurnal Motion Sun, Moon, planets, and stars rise in the east and set in the west Sun, Moon, planets, and stars rise in the east and set in the west Daily motion can be explained by the rotation of the celestial sphere about the north and south celestial poles located directly above the Earth’s north and south poles Daily motion can be explained by the rotation of the celestial sphere about the north and south celestial poles located directly above the Earth’s north and south poles celestial poles celestial poles The celestial poles can act as navigation aides and astronomical reference points The celestial poles can act as navigation aides and astronomical reference points The celestial equator, which lies directly above the Earth’s equator, provides another astronomical reference marker The celestial equator, which lies directly above the Earth’s equator, provides another astronomical reference marker

8 History of Astronomy 8 Prehistoric Astronomy  Motion of the Sun and the Stars (continued) Annual Motion Annual Motion For a given time (say 10:00 PM), as the months proceed, constellations do not appear in the same part of the sky For a given time (say 10:00 PM), as the months proceed, constellations do not appear in the same part of the sky A given star rises 3 minutes 56 seconds earlier each night A given star rises 3 minutes 56 seconds earlier each night This annual motion is caused by the Earth’s motion around the Sun, the result of projection This annual motion is caused by the Earth’s motion around the Sun, the result of projection The ancients used the periodic annual motion to mark the seasons The ancients used the periodic annual motion to mark the seasons The Ecliptic The Ecliptic The path of the Sun through the stars on the celestial sphere is called the ecliptic The path of the Sun through the stars on the celestial sphere is called the eclipticecliptic The ecliptic is a projection of the Earth’s orbit onto the celestial sphere and is tipped relative to the celestial equator The ecliptic is a projection of the Earth’s orbit onto the celestial sphere and is tipped relative to the celestial equator

9 History of Astronomy 9 Prehistoric Astronomy  The Seasons The Earth is closest to the Sun in January, which is winter in the northern hemisphere The Earth is closest to the Sun in January, which is winter in the northern hemisphere Therefore, the seasons cannot be caused by Sun’s proximity to the Earth Therefore, the seasons cannot be caused by Sun’s proximity to the Earth The Earth’s rotation axis is tilted 23.5 from a line perpendicular to the Earth’s orbital plane The Earth’s rotation axis is tilted 23.5º from a line perpendicular to the Earth’s orbital plane The rotation axis of the Earth maintains nearly exactly the same tilt and direction from year to year The rotation axis of the Earth maintains nearly exactly the same tilt and direction from year to year The northern and southern hemispheres alternate receiving (on a yearly cycle) the majority of direct light from the Sun The northern and southern hemispheres alternate receiving (on a yearly cycle) the majority of direct light from the Sun This leads to the seasons This leads to the seasons

10 History of Astronomy 10 Prehistoric Astronomy  The Seasons (continued) The Ecliptic’s Tilt The Ecliptic’s Tilt The tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis causes the ecliptic not to be aligned with the celestial equator The tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis causes the ecliptic not to be aligned with the celestial equator Sun is above celestial equator in June when the Northern Hemisphere is tipped toward the Sun, and is below the equator in December when tipped away Sun is above celestial equator in June when the Northern Hemisphere is tipped toward the Sun, and is below the equator in December when tipped away Tilting explains seasonal altitude of Sun at noon, highest in summer and lowest in winter Tilting explains seasonal altitude of Sun at noon, highest in summer and lowest in winter

11 History of Astronomy 11 Prehistoric Astronomy  The Seasons (continued) Solstices and Equinoxes Solstices and Equinoxes The solstices (about June 21 and December 21) are when the Sun rises at the most extreme north and south points The solstices (about June 21 and December 21) are when the Sun rises at the most extreme north and south points The equinoxes (equal day and night and about March 21 and September 23) are when the Sun rises directly east The equinoxes (equal day and night and about March 21 and September 23) are when the Sun rises directly east Ancients marked position of Sun rising and setting to determine the seasons (e.g., Stonehenge) Ancients marked position of Sun rising and setting to determine the seasons (e.g., Stonehenge)

12 History of Astronomy 12 Prehistoric Astronomy  Planets and the Zodiac The planets (Greek for “wanderers”) do not follow the same cyclic behavior of the stars The planets (Greek for “wanderers”) do not follow the same cyclic behavior of the stars The planets move relative to the stars in a very narrow band centered about the ecliptic and called the zodiac The planets move relative to the stars in a very narrow band centered about the ecliptic and called the zodiac Motion and location of the planets in the sky is a combination of all the planets’ orbits being nearly in the same plane and their relative speeds about the Sun Motion and location of the planets in the sky is a combination of all the planets’ orbits being nearly in the same plane and their relative speeds about the Sun Apparent motion of planets is usually from west to east relative to the stars, although on a daily basis, the planets always rise in the east Apparent motion of planets is usually from west to east relative to the stars, although on a daily basis, the planets always rise in the east Occasionally, a planet will move from east to west relative to the stars; this is called retrograde motion Occasionally, a planet will move from east to west relative to the stars; this is called retrograde motion Explaining retrograde motion was one of the main reasons astronomers ultimately rejected the idea of the Earth being located at the center of the solar system Explaining retrograde motion was one of the main reasons astronomers ultimately rejected the idea of the Earth being located at the center of the solar system

13 History of Astronomy 13 Prehistoric Astronomy  The Moon Rises in the east and sets in the west Rises in the east and sets in the west Like the planets and Sun, the Moon moves from west to east relative to the stars (roughly the width of the Moon in one hour) Like the planets and Sun, the Moon moves from west to east relative to the stars (roughly the width of the Moon in one hour) During a period of about 30 days, the Moon goes through a complete set of phases: new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent During a period of about 30 days, the Moon goes through a complete set of phases: new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent The phase cycle is the origin of the month (derived from the word moon) as a time period The phase cycle is the origin of the month (derived from the word moon) as a time period The phase of the Moon are caused by the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon The phase of the Moon are caused by the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon The Moon rises roughly 50 minutes later each day The Moon rises roughly 50 minutes later each day

14 History of Astronomy 14 Prehistoric Astronomy  Eclipses An eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are directly in line with each other An eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are directly in line with each other A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, with the Moon casting its shadow on the Earth causing a midday sky to become dark as night for a few minutes A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, with the Moon casting its shadow on the Earth causing a midday sky to become dark as night for a few minutes A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, with the Earth casting its shadow on the Moon giving it to become dull red color or disappear for over one hour A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, with the Earth casting its shadow on the Moon giving it to become dull red color or disappear for over one hour Eclipses do not occur every 30 days since the Moon’s orbit is tipped relative to the Earth’s orbit Eclipses do not occur every 30 days since the Moon’s orbit is tipped relative to the Earth’s orbit The tipped orbit allows the shadow the Earth (Moon) to miss the Moon (Earth) The tipped orbit allows the shadow the Earth (Moon) to miss the Moon (Earth)

15 History of Astronomy 15 Prehistoric Astronomy  In summary, basis of prehistoric astronomy: Rising and setting of Sun, Moon, and stars Rising and setting of Sun, Moon, and stars Constellations Constellations Annual motion of Sun Annual motion of Sun Motion of planets through zodiac Motion of planets through zodiac Phases of the Moon Phases of the Moon Eclipses Eclipses

16 History of Astronomy 16 Early Ideas of the Heavens  Ancient Greek Astronomers Through the use of models and observations, they were the first to use a careful and systematic manner to explain the workings of the heavens Through the use of models and observations, they were the first to use a careful and systematic manner to explain the workings of the heavens Limited to naked-eye observations, their idea of using logic and mathematics as tools for investigating nature is still with us today Limited to naked-eye observations, their idea of using logic and mathematics as tools for investigating nature is still with us today Their investigative methodology is in many ways as important as the discoveries themselves Their investigative methodology is in many ways as important as the discoveries themselves

17 History of Astronomy 17 Early Ideas of the Heavens  The Shape of the Earth Pythagoras taught as early as 500 B.C. that the Earth was round, based on the belief that the sphere is the perfect shape used by the gods Pythagoras taught as early as 500 B.C. that the Earth was round, based on the belief that the sphere is the perfect shape used by the gods By 300 B.C., Aristotle presented naked-eye observations for the Earth’s spherical shape: By 300 B.C., Aristotle presented naked-eye observations for the Earth’s spherical shape: Shape of Earth’s shadow on the Moon during an eclipse Shape of Earth’s shadow on the Moon during an eclipse A traveler moving south will see stars previously hidden by the southern horizon A traveler moving south will see stars previously hidden by the southern horizon

18 History of Astronomy 18 Early Ideas of the Heavens  The Size of the Earth Eratosthenes ( B.C. ) made the first measurement of the Earth’s size Eratosthenes ( B.C. ) made the first measurement of the Earth’s size He obtained a value of 25,000 miles for the circumference, a value very close to today’s value He obtained a value of 25,000 miles for the circumference, a value very close to today’s value His method entailed measuring the shadow length of a stick set vertically in the ground in the town of Alexandria on the summer solstice at noon, converting the shadow length to an angle of solar light incidence, and using the distance to Syene, a town where no shadow is cast at noon on the summer solstice His method entailed measuring the shadow length of a stick set vertically in the ground in the town of Alexandria on the summer solstice at noon, converting the shadow length to an angle of solar light incidence, and using the distance to Syene, a town where no shadow is cast at noon on the summer solstice

19 History of Astronomy 19 Early Ideas of the Heavens  Distance and Size of the Sun and Moon The sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon relative to Earth were determined by Aristarchus about 75 years before Eratosthenes measured the Earth’s size The sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon relative to Earth were determined by Aristarchus about 75 years before Eratosthenes measured the Earth’s size These relative sizes were based on the angular size of objects and a simple geometry formula relating the object’s diameter, its angular size, and its distance These relative sizes were based on the angular size of objects and a simple geometry formula relating the object’s diameter, its angular size, and its distance Aristarchus realizing the Sun was very large proposed the Sun as center of the Solar System, but the lack of parallax argued against such a model Aristarchus realizing the Sun was very large proposed the Sun as center of the Solar System, but the lack of parallax argued against such a model Once the actual size of the Earth was determined, the absolute sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon could be determined Once the actual size of the Earth was determined, the absolute sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon could be determined

20 History of Astronomy 20 Early Ideas of the Heavens  The Motion of the Planets Because of the general east to west motion of objects in the sky, geocentric theories were developed to explain the motions Because of the general east to west motion of objects in the sky, geocentric theories were developed to explain the motions Eudoxus ( B.C. ) proposed a geocentric model in which each celestial object was mounted on its own revolving transparent sphere with its own separate tilt Eudoxus ( B.C. ) proposed a geocentric model in which each celestial object was mounted on its own revolving transparent sphere with its own separate tilt The faster an object moved in the sky, the smaller was its corresponding sphere The faster an object moved in the sky, the smaller was its corresponding sphere This simple geocentric model could not explain retrograde motion without appealing to clumsy and unappealing contrivances This simple geocentric model could not explain retrograde motion without appealing to clumsy and unappealing contrivances

21 History of Astronomy 21 Early Ideas of the Heavens  Ptolemy (about A.D. 150) Ptolemy of Alexandria improved the geocentric model by assuming each planet moved on a small circle, which in turn had its center move on a much larger circle centered on the Earth Ptolemy of Alexandria improved the geocentric model by assuming each planet moved on a small circle, which in turn had its center move on a much larger circle centered on the Earth The small circles were called epicycles and were incorporated so as to explain retrograde motion The small circles were called epicycles and were incorporated so as to explain retrograde motion Ptolemy’s model was able to predict planetary motion with fair precision Ptolemy’s model was able to predict planetary motion with fair precision Discrepancies remained and this led to the development of very complex Ptolemaic models up until about the 1500s Discrepancies remained and this led to the development of very complex Ptolemaic models up until about the 1500s Ultimately, all the geocentric models collapsed under the weight of “Occam’s razor” and the heliocentric models prevailed Ultimately, all the geocentric models collapsed under the weight of “Occam’s razor” and the heliocentric models prevailed

22 History of Astronomy 22 Early Ideas of the Heavens  Islamic Contributions Relied in celestial phenomena to set its religious calendar Relied in celestial phenomena to set its religious calendar Created a large vocabulary still evident today (e.g., zenith, Betelgeuse) Created a large vocabulary still evident today (e.g., zenith, Betelgeuse) Developed algebra and Arabic numerals Developed algebra and Arabic numerals  Asian Contributions Devised constellations based on Asian mythologies Devised constellations based on Asian mythologies Kept detailed records of unusual celestial events (e.g., eclipses, comets, supernova, and sunspots) Kept detailed records of unusual celestial events (e.g., eclipses, comets, supernova, and sunspots) Eclipse predictions Eclipse predictions

23 History of Astronomy 23 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Nicolaus Copernicus ( ) Could not reconcile centuries of data with Ptolemy’s geocentric model Could not reconcile centuries of data with Ptolemy’s geocentric model Consequently, Copernicus reconsidered Aristarchus’s heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the solar system Consequently, Copernicus reconsidered Aristarchus’s heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the solar system Heliocentric models explain retrograde motion as a natural consequence of two planets (one being the Earth) passing each other Heliocentric models explain retrograde motion as a natural consequence of two planets (one being the Earth) passing each other Copernicus could also derive the relative distances of the planets from the Sun Copernicus could also derive the relative distances of the planets from the Sun However, problems remained: However, problems remained: Could not predict planet positions any more accurately than the model of Ptolemy Could not predict planet positions any more accurately than the model of Ptolemy Could not explain lack of parallax motion of stars Could not explain lack of parallax motion of stars Conflicted with Aristotelian “common sense” Conflicted with Aristotelian “common sense”

24 History of Astronomy 24 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Tycho Brahe ( ) Designed and built instruments of far greater accuracy than any yet devised Designed and built instruments of far greater accuracy than any yet devised Made meticulous measurements of the planets Made meticulous measurements of the planets Made observations (supernova and comet) that suggested that the heavens were both changeable and more complex than previously believed Made observations (supernova and comet) that suggested that the heavens were both changeable and more complex than previously believed Proposed compromise geocentric model Proposed compromise geocentric model

25 History of Astronomy 25 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Johannes Kepler ( ) Upon Tycho’s death, his data passed to Kepler, his young assistant Upon Tycho’s death, his data passed to Kepler, his young assistant Using the very precise Mars data, Kepler showed the orbit to be an ellipse Using the very precise Mars data, Kepler showed the orbit to be an ellipse Kepler’s Three Laws: Kepler’s Three Laws: I.Planets move in elliptical orbits with the Sun at one focus of the ellipse II.The orbital speed of a planet varies so that a line joining the Sun and the planet will sweep out equal areas in equal time intervals III.The amount of time a planet takes to orbit the Sun is related to its orbit’s size, such that the period, P, squared is proportional to the semimajor axis, a, cubed: P 2 = a 3 where P is measured in years and a is measured in AU where P is measured in years and a is measured in AU

26 History of Astronomy 26 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Johannes Kepler (continued) Consequences of Kepler’s laws: Consequences of Kepler’s laws: Second law implies that the closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it moves Second law implies that the closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it moves Third law implies that a planet with a larger average distance from the Sun, which is the semimajor axis distance, will take longer to circle the Sun Third law implies that a planet with a larger average distance from the Sun, which is the semimajor axis distance, will take longer to circle the Sun Third law hints at the nature of the force holding the planets in orbit Third law hints at the nature of the force holding the planets in orbit Third law can be used to determine the semimajor axis, a, if the period, P, is known, a measurement that is not difficult to make Third law can be used to determine the semimajor axis, a, if the period, P, is known, a measurement that is not difficult to make

27 History of Astronomy 27 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Galileo ( ) Contemporary of Kepler Contemporary of Kepler First person to use the telescope to study the heavens and offer interpretations First person to use the telescope to study the heavens and offer interpretations The Moon’s surface has features similar to that of the Earth The Moon is a ball of rock The Moon’s surface has features similar to that of the Earth  The Moon is a ball of rock The Sun has spots The Sun is not perfect, changes its appearance, and rotates The Sun has spots  The Sun is not perfect, changes its appearance, and rotates Jupiter has four objects orbiting it The objects are moons and they are not circling Earth Jupiter has four objects orbiting it  The objects are moons and they are not circling Earth Milky Way is populated by uncountable number of stars Earth-centered universe is too simple Milky Way is populated by uncountable number of stars  Earth-centered universe is too simple Venus undergoes full phase cycle Venus must circle Sun Venus undergoes full phase cycle  Venus must circle Sun

28 History of Astronomy 28 Astronomy in the Renaissance  Galileo (continued) Credited with originating the experimental method for studying scientific problems Credited with originating the experimental method for studying scientific problems Deduced the first correct “laws of motion” Deduced the first correct “laws of motion” Was brought before the Inquisition and put under house arrest for the remainder of his life Was brought before the Inquisition and put under house arrest for the remainder of his life

29 History of Astronomy 29 Isaac Newton & Birth of Astrophysics  Isaac Newton ( ) was born the year Galileo died  He made major advances in mathematics, physics, and astronomy  He pioneered the modern studies of motion, optics, and gravity and discovered the mathematical methods of calculus  It was not until the 20 th century that Newton’s laws of motion and gravity were modified by the theories of relativity

30 History of Astronomy 30 The Growth of Astrophysics  New Discoveries In 1781, Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus; he also discovered that stars can have companions In 1781, Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus; he also discovered that stars can have companions Irregularities in Uranus’s orbit together with law of gravity leads to discovery of Neptune Irregularities in Uranus’s orbit together with law of gravity leads to discovery of Neptune  New Technologies Improved optics lead to bigger telescopes and the discovery of nebulas and galaxies Improved optics lead to bigger telescopes and the discovery of nebulas and galaxies Photography allowed the detection of very faint objects Photography allowed the detection of very faint objects

31 History of Astronomy 31 The Growth of Astrophysics  The Nature of Matter and Heat The ancient Greeks introduced the idea of the atom (Greek for “uncuttable”), which today has been modified to include a nucleus and a surrounding cloud of electrons The ancient Greeks introduced the idea of the atom (Greek for “uncuttable”), which today has been modified to include a nucleus and a surrounding cloud of electrons Heating (transfer of energy) and the motion of atoms was an important topic in the 1700s and 1800s Heating (transfer of energy) and the motion of atoms was an important topic in the 1700s and 1800s  The Kelvin Temperature Scale An object’s temperature is directly related to its energy content and to the speed of molecular motion An object’s temperature is directly related to its energy content and to the speed of molecular motion As a body is cooled to zero Kelvin, molecular motion within it slows to a virtual halt and its energy approaches zero no negative temperatures As a body is cooled to zero Kelvin, molecular motion within it slows to a virtual halt and its energy approaches zero  no negative temperatures Fahrenheit and Celsius are two other temperature scales that are easily converted to Kelvin Fahrenheit and Celsius are two other temperature scales that are easily converted to Kelvin

32 History of Astronomy Stonehenge, a stone monument built by the ancient Britons on Salisbury Plain, England. Its orientation marks the seasonal rising and setting points of the Sun. (Courtesy Tony Stone/Rob Talbot.) Back

33 History of Astronomy The sphere of the sky surrounds the Earth and is called the “celestial sphere.” Back

34 History of Astronomy The two constellations Leo, (A), and Cygnus, (B), with figures sketched in to help you visualize the animals they represent. (Photo (A) from Roger Ressmeyer, digitally enhanced by Jon Alpert. Photo (B) courtesy Eugene Lauria.) Back

35 History of Astronomy Stars appear to rise and set as the celestial sphere rotates overhead. Also marked are the celestial equator and poles and their locations on the celestial sphere. Back

36 History of Astronomy The Sun hides from our view stars that lie beyond it. As we move around the Sun, those stars become visible, and the ones previously seen are hidden. Thus the constellations change with the seasons. Back

37 History of Astronomy The Sun's path across the background stars is called the ecliptic. The Sun appears to lie in Taurus in June, in Cancer during August, in Virgo during October, and so forth. Note that the ecliptic is also where the Earth's orbital plane cuts the celestial sphere. Back

38 History of Astronomy The Earth's rotation axis is tilted by 23.5° with respect to its orbit. The direction of the tilt remains the same as the Earth moves around the Sun. Thus for part of the year the Sun lies north of the celestial equator, whereas for another part it lies south of the celestial equator. Back

39 History of Astronomy These five diagrams show the Sun's position as the sky changes with the seasons. Although the Earth moves around the Sun, it looks to us on the Earth as if the Sun moves around us. Notice that because the Earth's spin axis is tilted, the Sun is north of the celestial equator half of the year (late March to late September) and south of the celestial equator for the other half of the year (late September to late March). Back

40 History of Astronomy The direction of the rising and setting Sun changes throughout the year. At the equinoxes the rising and setting points are due east and west. The sunrise direction shifts slowly northeast from March to the summer solstice, whereupon it shifts back, reaching due east at the autumn equinox. The sunrise direction continues moving southeast until the winter solstice. The sunset point similarly shifts north and south. Sunrise on the summer solstice at Stonehenge. (Courtesy English Heritage.) Back

41 History of Astronomy The zodiac is tilted with respect to the celestial equator. Notice that planets (except for Pluto) can never appear outside the zodiac. Back

42 History of Astronomy A planet's eastward drift against the background stars plotted on the celestial sphere. Note: Star maps usually have east on the left and west on the right, so that they depict the sky when looking south. Back

43 History of Astronomy The position of Mars marked out on the background stars and showing its retrograde motion. In what constellation is Mars in October 1994? (Use the star charts on the inside covers of the book to identify the constellations.) Back

44 History of Astronomy (A) The cycle of the phases of the Moon from new to full and back again. (B) The Moon's phases are caused by our seeing different amounts of its illuminated surface. The pictures in the dark squares show how the Moon looks to us on Earth. Back

45 History of Astronomy A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Moon's shadow strikes the Earth. The photo inset shows what the eclipse looks like from Earth. (Photo courtesy of Dennis di Cicco.) Back

46 History of Astronomy A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, causing the Earth's shadow to fall on the Moon. Some sunlight leaks through the Earth's atmosphere casting a deep reddish light on the Moon. The photo inset shows what the eclipse looks like from Earth. (Photo courtesy of Dennis di Cicco.) Back

47 History of Astronomy (A) During a lunar eclipse, we see that the Earth's shadow on the Moon is curved. Thus the Earth must be round. (B) As a traveler moves from north to south on the Earth, the stars that are visible change. Some disappear below the northern horizon, whereas others, previously hidden, become visible above the southern horizon. This variation would not occur on a flat Earth. Back

48 History of Astronomy Eratosthenes's calculation of the circumference of the Earth. The Sun is directly overhead on the summer solstice at Syene, in southern Egypt. On that same day, Eratosthenes found the Sun to be 7° from the vertical in Alexandria, in northern Egypt. Eratosthenes deduced that the angle between two verticals placed in northern and southern Egypt must be 7°. Back

49 History of Astronomy Aristarchus used the size of the Earth's shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse to estimate the relative size of the Earth and Moon. Back

50 History of Astronomy How to determine linear size from angular size. Back

51 History of Astronomy Aristarchus estimated the relative distance of the Sun and Moon by observing the angle A between the Sun and the Moon when the the Moon is exactly half lit. Angle B must be 90° for the Moon to be half lit. Knowing the Angle A, he could then set the scale of the triangle and thus the relative lengths of the sides. Back

52 History of Astronomy Motion of the Earth around the Sun causes stellar parallax. Because the stars are so remote, this is too small to be seen by the naked eye. Thus the ancient Greeks incorrectly deduced that the Sun could not be the center of the Solar System. Back

53 History of Astronomy Cutaway view of the geocentric model of the Solar System according to Eudoxus. (Some spheres omitted for clarity.) Back

54 History of Astronomy Epicycles are a bit like a bicycle wheel on which a Frisbee is bolted. Back

55 History of Astronomy Why we see retrograde motion. (Object sizes and distances are exaggerated for clarity.) Back

56 History of Astronomy How Copernicus calculated the distance to the planets. (A) When an inner planet appears in the sky at its farthest point from the Sun, the planet's angle on the sky away from the Sun, A, can be measured. You can see from the figure that at the same time angle B is 90°. The planet's distance from the Sun can then be calculated with geometry, if one knows the measured value of angle A and the fact that the Earth-Sun distance is 1 AU. (B) Finding the distance to an outer planet requires determining how long it takes the planet to move from being opposite the Sun in the sky ( the planet rises at sunset) to when the Sun-Earth- planet angle is 90° (the planet rises at noon or midnight). Knowing that time interval, one then calculates what fraction of their orbits the Earth and planet moved in that time. Multiplying those fractions by 360° gives the angles the planet and Earth moved. The difference between those angles gives angle B. Finally, using geometry and the value of angle B as just determined, the planet's distance from the Sun can be calculated. Back

57 History of Astronomy (A) Drawing an ellipse. (B) The Sun lies at one focus of the ellipse. Back

58 History of Astronomy Kepler's three laws. (A) A planet moves in an elliptical orbit with the Sun at one focus. (B) A planet moves so that a line from it to the Sun sweeps out equal areas in equal times. Thus the planet moves fastest when nearest the Sun. (C) The square of a planet's orbital period (in years) equals the cube of the semimajor axis of its orbit (in AU), the planet's distance from the Sun if the orbit is a circle. Back

59 History of Astronomy As Venus orbits the Sun, it undergoes a cycle of phases. The phase and its position with respect to Sun show conclusively that Venus cannot be orbiting the Earth. The gibbous phases Galileo observed occur for the heliocentric model but cannot happen in the Earth-centered Ptolemaic model. Back


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