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RE: Ancient Astronomy
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Amazing observatories of the ancient world

To help celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, take an armchair tour of the most intriguing ancient observatories, guided by three leading archaeoastronomy experts...
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Ancient Egyptian Astronomy
The constellations we are currently familiar with originate from Ptolemys 48 constellations compiled from ancient Greek constellations by Claudius Ptolemaeus (from 90 A.D. to about 168 A.D.).

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How the planets got their names
Ancient civilizations, from the Middle East to Central America to China, all had unique names for the planets visible with the naked eye. The Greeks called the planet we know as Mercury "Apollo" when it glowed in the morning sky and "Hermes" when it hung like a jewel in the evening. The Romans named the planet closest to the sun Mercury, after the swift messenger of the gods, because it seemed to travel so quickly across the heavens.

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Ten ancient observatories spied from space
Satellite offers a modern look at how mankind watched the stars long ago

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ANCIENT SKIES was born out of both Grant Wakefield's lifelong fascination with the Megalithic sites of the British Isles and large format film making. Starting life as a short, Black + White timelapse IMAX film, it soon developed into a feature length (40 min.) production. Over a number of years Wakefield travelled widely, shooting stills and editing video-storyboards for a project which was then entitled REMNANTS, and whose format would be visuals and music only, supplied by former TANGERINE DREAM member Johannes Schmoelling.
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For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been fascinated by the patterns of stars in the sky above Earth. Early on, they noticed that the Moon changed shape from night to night as well as its position among the stars.
Early people noticed constellations of stars in the sky that looked like animals and people, and made up stories about what they thought they saw. In fact, the oldest records we have of astronomical observations are 30,000-year-old paintings found on the walls of caves.

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Ancient Chinese Astronomy: New insights from old information
China has the world's longest-running observations of the sky:
though based in astrology, they are of unique importance to astronomy today.
In 210 BC, the great First Emperor of China was buried near Xian with his famous Terracotta Army of full-sized clay warriors. According a contemporary account, his own tomb yet to be excavated was even more lavish, containing a fabulous double map: Below was a map of the Earth. The hundred rivers of the Empire were modelled in mercury: cleverly designed machines made the rivers flow. Above everything was the starry vault.

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Tibetan Astro-Medicine
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"The Uniqueness of Tibetan Astro-Medicine" was held Monday at 7 p.m. in Giffels Auditorium. The presentation was free and open to the public, and addressed tantric practices including consideration of the chakras, the administration of medical training, and how the medical practice relates to Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy generally, according to the press release.

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Newgrange
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It's older than the pyramids of Egypt and England's Stonehenge, and it's an astronomical wonder as well. Yet the passage grave at Newgrange, in Ireland's County Meath, is often ignored in package tours of the Emerald Isle.
That's a pity, because the megalithic tomb at Newgrange provides a fascinating primer on how Ireland's people lived - and died - in the beautiful Boyne Valley more than 5,000 years ago.
Like Stonehenge, Newgrange is a favourite haunt of spiritualists, animists and present-day Druid cultists who are wont to visit on feasts like Halloween or the pagan observance of the winter solstice.

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