The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy (Astronomers Universe)

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For all who are interested in astronomy, the skies, and perhaps even the origins of the universe, The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy provides a first-of-its-kind accessible, informative, and highly readable account of how the study and observation of this celestial object has driven the development of astronomy from ancient times to the present.

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Weird Astronomy David A. The Invisible Universe Gerrit L. Orrery Tony Buick. Extreme Explosions David S. Exoplanets C. It is also almost a twin of the Milky Way Galaxy and our neighbor in space, now known to be about 2. The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy examines ancient and modern astronomical studies of Andromeda and the galaxy's critical role in the development of the science of astrophysics and our growing knowledge of the universe.

At the start of the twentieth century the universe was thought of as a finite cosmos dominated by the Milky Way. The study of Andromeda shattered that image, leading ultimately to the conception of an infinite universe of countless galaxies and vast distances. Even today, M31 is a major source of new astronomical discoveries, and it also remains one of the most popular and rewarding celestial objects for amateur astronomers to observe and study. Andromeda was once a popular object of folklore and later became central to our understanding of the universe.

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He is a Hamline University professor in the School of Business, where he teaches classes in government ethics, public policy, and public administration. He also holds appointments at the Hamline University and Minnesota schools of law, where he teaches election law, professional responsibility, and state constitutional law.


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Professor Schultz is the author of more than 25 books and 80 articles. In addition to a degree in astronomy, he has a Ph. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.

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We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X. Depending on the historian's viewpoint, the acme or corruption of physical Greek astronomy is seen with Ptolemy of Alexandria , who wrote the classic comprehensive presentation of geocentric astronomy, the Megale Syntaxis Great Synthesis , better known by its Arabic title Almagest , which had a lasting effect on astronomy up to the Renaissance.

In his Planetary Hypotheses , Ptolemy ventured into the realm of cosmology, developing a physical model of his geometric system, in a universe many times smaller than the more realistic conception of Aristarchus of Samos four centuries earlier. The precise orientation of the Egyptian pyramids affords a lasting demonstration of the high degree of technical skill in watching the heavens attained in the 3rd millennium BC. It has been shown the Pyramids were aligned towards the pole star , which, because of the precession of the equinoxes , was at that time Thuban , a faint star in the constellation of Draco.

The Egyptians also found the position of Sirius the dog star who they believed was Anubis their Jackal headed god moving through the heavens. Its position was critical to their civilisation as when it rose heliacal in the east before sunrise it foretold the flooding of the Nile. It is also where we get the phrase 'dog days of summer' from. Astronomy played a considerable part in religious matters for fixing the dates of festivals and determining the hours of the night. The titles of several temple books are preserved recording the movements and phases of the sun , moon and stars.

The rising of Sirius Egyptian : Sopdet, Greek : Sothis at the beginning of the inundation was a particularly important point to fix in the yearly calendar. Writing in the Roman era , Clement of Alexandria gives some idea of the importance of astronomical observations to the sacred rites:. He must know by heart the Hermetic astrological books, which are four in number. Of these, one is about the arrangement of the fixed stars that are visible; one on the positions of the Sun and Moon and five planets; one on the conjunctions and phases of the Sun and Moon; and one concerns their risings.

The Astrologer's instruments horologium and palm are a plumb line and sighting instrument [ clarification needed ]. They have been identified with two inscribed objects in the Berlin Museum ; a short handle from which a plumb line was hung, and a palm branch with a sight-slit in the broader end. The latter was held close to the eye, the former in the other hand, perhaps at arm's length. The "Hermetic" books which Clement refers to are the Egyptian theological texts, which probably have nothing to do with Hellenistic Hermetism.

From the tables of stars on the ceiling of the tombs of Rameses VI and Rameses IX it seems that for fixing the hours of the night a man seated on the ground faced the Astrologer in such a position that the line of observation of the pole star passed over the middle of his head. On the different days of the year each hour was determined by a fixed star culminating or nearly culminating in it, and the position of these stars at the time is given in the tables as in the centre, on the left eye, on the right shoulder, etc.

According to the texts, in founding or rebuilding temples the north axis was determined by the same apparatus, and we may conclude that it was the usual one for astronomical observations. In careful hands it might give results of a high degree of accuracy.

The astronomy of East Asia began in China. Solar term was completed in Warring States period. The knowledge of Chinese astronomy was introduced into East Asia. Astronomy in China has a long history. Detailed records of astronomical observations were kept from about the 6th century BC, until the introduction of Western astronomy and the telescope in the 17th century. Chinese astronomers were able to precisely predict eclipses.

Much of early Chinese astronomy was for the purpose of timekeeping. The Chinese used a lunisolar calendar, but because the cycles of the Sun and the Moon are different, astronomers often prepared new calendars and made observations for that purpose. Astrological divination was also an important part of astronomy. Astronomers took careful note of "guest stars" which suddenly appeared among the fixed stars.

Also, the supernova that created the Crab Nebula in is an example of a "guest star" observed by Chinese astronomers, although it was not recorded by their European contemporaries. Ancient astronomical records of phenomena like supernovae and comets are sometimes used in modern astronomical studies. Maya astronomical codices include detailed tables for calculating phases of the Moon , the recurrence of eclipses, and the appearance and disappearance of Venus as morning and evening star.

The Maya based their calendrics in the carefully calculated cycles of the Pleiades , the Sun , the Moon , Venus , Jupiter , Saturn , Mars , and also they had a precise description of the eclipses as depicted in the Dresden Codex , as well as the ecliptic or zodiac, and the Milky Way was crucial in their Cosmology.

To the ancient Maya, Venus was the patron of war and many recorded battles are believed to have been timed to the motions of this planet. Mars is also mentioned in preserved astronomical codices and early mythology. Although the Maya calendar was not tied to the Sun, John Teeple has proposed that the Maya calculated the solar year to somewhat greater accuracy than the Gregorian calendar. The Arabic and the Persian world under Islam had become highly cultured, and many important works of knowledge from Greek astronomy and Indian astronomy and Persian astronomy were translated into Arabic, used and stored in libraries throughout the area.

An important contribution by Islamic astronomers was their emphasis on observational astronomy. In the 10th century, Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi Azophi carried out observations on the stars and described their positions, magnitudes , brightness, and colour and drawings for each constellation in his Book of Fixed Stars. He also gave the first descriptions and pictures of "A Little Cloud" now known as the Andromeda Galaxy.

He mentions it as lying before the mouth of a Big Fish, an Arabic constellation. This "cloud" was apparently commonly known to the Isfahan astronomers, very probably before AD. In the late 10th century, a huge observatory was built near Tehran , Iran , by the astronomer Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi who observed a series of meridian transits of the Sun, which allowed him to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the Sun.

He noted that measurements by earlier Indian, then Greek astronomers had found higher values for this angle, possible evidence that the axial tilt is not constant but was in fact decreasing. Natural philosophy particularly Aristotelian physics was separated from astronomy by Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen in the 11th century, by Ibn al-Shatir in the 14th century, [52] and Qushji in the 15th century, leading to the development of an astronomical physics.

After the significant contributions of Greek scholars to the development of astronomy, it entered a relatively static era in Western Europe from the Roman era through the 12th century. This lack of progress has led some astronomers to assert that nothing happened in Western European astronomy during the Middle Ages. Western Europe entered the Middle Ages with great difficulties that affected the continent's intellectual production. The advanced astronomical treatises of classical antiquity were written in Greek , and with the decline of knowledge of that language, only simplified summaries and practical texts were available for study.

In 20th century, astronomers opened their minds to gazillions of galaxies

The most influential writers to pass on this ancient tradition in Latin were Macrobius , Pliny , Martianus Capella , and Calcidius. In the 7th century the English monk Bede of Jarrow published an influential text, On the Reckoning of Time , providing churchmen with the practical astronomical knowledge needed to compute the proper date of Easter using a procedure called the computus. This text remained an important element of the education of clergy from the 7th century until well after the rise of the Universities in the 12th century. The range of surviving ancient Roman writings on astronomy and the teachings of Bede and his followers began to be studied in earnest during the revival of learning sponsored by the emperor Charlemagne.

Building on this astronomical background, in the 10th century European scholars such as Gerbert of Aurillac began to travel to Spain and Sicily to seek out learning which they had heard existed in the Arabic-speaking world.