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Egyptian astronomy questions
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Rip Li
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 7:01 am    Post subject: Polaris is the current Reply with quote

Polaris is the CURRENT north star. 3000 years ago, the Earth's alignment was different, as it will be again the next 3000 years. Cool

So back then the Egyptians used Thuban to find north. Thuban is in Draco, which is between the big and little dippers. See a map in Astronomy or Sky and Telescope and you will see. It will say "beta" or something like that to show that Thuban is the brightest star in that constellation.

We now use Polaris as our North star because that is how the Earth is rotating. Since that star never moves, we use it to find "north." I never get lost anymore looking for the direction north. faroah
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dzama923
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The imperishable stars ursa major", I wonder how that is translated. It would seem that we still use constellations that the Egyptian's were using. I have also heard the imperishable stars refered to as, "the unwavering stars".
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CPRSven
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dzama923 wrote:
"The imperishable stars ursa major", I wonder how that is translated. It would seem that we still use constellations that the Egyptian's were using. I have also heard the imperishable stars refered to as, "the unwavering stars".


People all see the same bright stars in the sky, and our brains organize them into groups and stick-figures. But throughout most of Egyptian history, they saw these groups of stars differently than we do today. The modern zodiac, for example, only appears a bit over 2,000 years ago, during the Greco-Roman Period, late in Egyptian history.

Strictly speaking, these figures are not constellations at all, but are asterisms. Modern constellations are areas into which the entire sky is divided. In order to say whether a planet or any other object is "in" a constellation, you first have to define the boundaries of the constellations. And that wasn't done, believe it or not, until 1930.

Keep in mind also that the constellations of the zodiac and the "signs" of the zodiac are two different things. The boundaries of the former are fixed to the celestial sphere while the boundaries of the later are fixed to the ecliptic, and due to the precession of the equinoxes over the last 2,000 years are now shifted about 30 degrees with respect to each other.

So, if the newspaper says that your "sign" is Leo or Scorpio or whatever if you were born on a certain date, mostly likely the Sun was actually in a neighboring constellation, not the one you think it was in on your birthday.
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