Astronomy Astrophysics

Astronomy Through the Ages by Sir Robert Wilson

By Sir Robert Wilson

From an old standpoint, this article provides a completely non- mathematical advent to astronomy from the 1st endeavours of the ancients to the present advancements in learn enabled via leading edge technological advances. freed from arithmetic and intricate graphs, the ebook however explains deep techniques of area and time, of relativity and quantum mechanics, and of foundation and nature of the universe. It conveys not just the intrinsic fascination of the topic, but in addition the human facet and the medical approach as practised via Kepler, outlined and elucidated by way of Galileo, after which established via Newton.

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All of the Mediterranean countries and large parts of Europe were under the military domination of Rome for some six centuries and, by the time its empire collapsed in AD 476 (the eastern rump based on Byzantine, modern day Constantinople, lasted another thousand years), intellectual pursuits had effectively vanished in all areas of scholarship. The period that followed in Europe is now known as the Dark Ages; for 500 years intellectual and cultural endeavours ceased in all areas and for a further 500 years in others, which included science and astronomy.

These routes resulted in different interpretations of God’s will and, hence, despite their common root, they are not compatible in practice or in principle; for example, Judaism and Islam cannot accept the basic Christian belief that God had appeared in human form in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, because this was contrary to their concept of a remote, unseen, all-powerful God, who communicated only through chosen individuals, called prophets. Another major difference is that Judaism was, and still is, an inward-looking religion which protected the Israeli people from outside interference.

Using an earlier idea, he introduced the secondary epicycle, an additional circle around which the planet moved at constant velocity and whose centre moved at constant velocity around the epicycle, the centre of which moved in turn around the deferent, whose centre was the Earth. This use of deferent, epicycle and secondary epicycle allowed a truly geocentric system with strictly concentric spheres, which explained the observations of the Moon, Sun, planets and stars. Aristotle’s cosmology had finally been quantified, but this work did not reach Europe, unlike the astronomical tables of al-Battani, and therefore had no influence on the major astronomical developments that were to occur there a few hundred years later.

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