Schedule - Week 1
Schedule - Week 2
Schedule - Week 3
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Astronomical observation was the tool by which time and calendars were
kept, and insight into the natural world was developed, nurturing the
infant sciences of mathematics and physics. This powerful lure of the
heavens is still present in the modern society, even though most don't
take the time or have the opportunity to recognize it unless one can
escape from the light-polluted cities - if even only in a local
planetarium. Both the child in the planetarium as the lights dim and
the astronomer high atop a mountain suspended between the desert haze
far below and the twilight palette above will feel the same mesmerizing
wonder about the vault of the heavens. In this way we are all alike,
and in many ways unchanged from the first primitive intelligence to
view the night sky.
Karen Meech will discuss the basic ideas of
ancient astronomies - Archaeoastronomy in this session and relate
them to our understanding of the celestial sphere.
Humans are at their best when they are stretching for new frontiers -
since at our core we have a basic need to dream and to seek out
answers. Astronomy is unique and privileged among the sciences to have
played a fundamental role in humanity's quest for new frontiers -
extending from our earliest beginnings as intelligent creatures and
continuing to the present. In the deepening colors of the evening
twilight, as the first stars and the planetary wanderers began to
appear, primitive man turned his attention to the heavens and perhaps
to speculate on the character of the lights that appeared to fill the
infinity of the night - to begin to wonder about his origins and the
relationship of his world to the nighttime splendor. Whereas the most
primitive cosmologies, or search for one's place in the universe, were
probably not documented, the early observation of the heavens was
documented as early as 30,000 BC as lunar cycles carved into animal
bones. As civilization and culture grew, so did the oldest of
sciences through the meticulous observation of the diurnal and annual
motion of objects in the heavens, coupled with the development of rich
cosmologies and mythologies.
Images from Avebury and Stonehenge.
Images credit: Andy Burnham.
Image credit: Ron Lussier
Archaeoastronomy links are found here.
Location - New Lecture Hall