Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, comets, and galaxies. Relevant phenomena include supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation and expansion of the universe. More generally, astronomy studies everything that originates outside Earth’s atmosphere. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry to explain their origin and evolution.
The information on astronomy is provided here to give a better understanding of the universe in contrast to the universe presented in the Bible. This will give a better appreciation tho the true ‘Creator’, if there is one, instead of the Gods of the Bible, Talmud and Koran. Keep this information in mind as you read this page. In astronomy distance is measured in light years. This should give you an idea of how expansive the universe as we know it is.
A light-year or lightyear (symbol: ly) is a unit of measurement of length, specifically the distance light travels in a vacuum in one year. While there is no authoritative decision on which year is used, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) recommends the Julian year.
A light-year is equal to:
- 9,460,730,472,580.8 km (about 9.461 Pm)
- 5,878,625,373,183.61 statute miles
- about 63,240 astronomical units
- about 0.3066 parsecs
(A light year is approximately 6 trillion miles. So when you read that the distance from us (earth) to a galaxy or celestial body is 28 million light years you have to multiply 28 by 6 trillion to get the distance. Conversely, light from that object has traveled through space for a period of 28 million years to reach us. Hope that helps to conceptualize it.)
People still study the sky and the stars to guide them during the hunting season; astronomy is an integral part of their daily lives, dances, and ceremonies. This knowledge of the sky was passed on from generation to generations for the past 500 years.
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.
Africans and Astronomy
African people have for thousands of years developed a reverence for celestial bodies ‘stars’ in the heavens.
Kemites (Ancient Egyptians) First Astronomers
The Nabta Playa has a stone calendar circle that is considered one of the earliest archeoastronomical devices.
These Prehistoric temple is between 7,000 to 8,000 years old.
Nabta Playa Stone Circle Sacred Cosmology
Nabta Playa Astronomical Stones
Eight thousand year-old Nabta playa stones still standing after ‘Noah’s Flood’?
The night sky with stars aligned with Nabta Playa temple stones
Astronomy in Kemetic Life
By the time the historical Dynastic Period began in the 3rd millennium BCE, the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was already in use, and the observation of stars was important in determining the annual flooding of the Nile.
The Egyptian pyramids were carefully aligned towards the pole star, and the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak was aligned on the rising of the midwinter Sun. Astronomy played a considerable part in fixing the dates of religious festivals and determining the hours of night, and temple astrologers were especially adept at watching the stars and observing the conjunctions and risings of the Sun, Moon, and planets, as well as the lunar phases.
Nut, Egyptian goddess of the sky, with the star chart in the tomb of Ramses VI
In Ptolemaic Egypt, the Egyptian tradition merged with Greek astronomy and Babylonian astronomy, with the city of Alexandria in Lower Egypt becoming the centre of scientific activity across the Hellenistic world. Roman Egypt produced the greatest astronomer of the era, Ptolemy (90–168 CE). His works on astronomy, including the Almagest, became the most influential books in the history of Western astronomy. Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the region came to be dominated by Arabic culture and Islamic astronomy.
Egyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times. The presence of stone circles at Nabta Playa in Upper Egypt dating from the 5th millennium BCE show the importance of astronomy to the religious life of ancient Egypt even in the prehistoric period. The annual flooding of the Nile meant that the heliacal risings, or first visible appearances of stars at dawn, were of special interest in determining when this might occur, and it is no surprise that the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was already in use at the beginning of Egyptian history. The constellation system used among the Egyptians also appears to have been essentially of native origin.
The precise orientation of the Egyptian pyramids serves as a lasting demonstration of the high degree of technical skill in watching the heavens attained in the 3rd millennium BCE. 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. Evaluation of the site of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak, taking into account the change over time of the obliquity of the ecliptic, has shown that the Great Temple was aligned on the rising of the midwinter Sun. The length of the corridor down which sunlight would travel would have limited illumination at other times of the year.
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. One of the most important Egyptian astronomical texts was the Book of Nut, going back to the Middle Kingdom or earlier.
The death of a king had a strong connection to the stars for Ancient Egyptians. They believed once a king was deceased, their soul would rise to the heavens and become a star. Translated pyramid texts describe the king ascending and becoming the Morning Star among the Imperishable Stars of past kings.
Astronomical ceiling relief from Dendera, Egypt
Ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile River to flood their fields and make it possible to grow crops. They became the first to use a calendar with a 365-day year after their priests discovered that flooding returned about every 365 days.
Ancient Egyptians were very interested in the night sky. In particular, they were drawn to two bright stars that always could be seen circling the North Pole. The Egyptians referred to those stars as “the indestructibles.” Today we know them as Kochab, in the bowl of the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), and Mizar, in the middle of the handle of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).
Egyptians aligned their pyramids and temples toward the north because they believed their pharaohs became stars in the northern sky after they died. To assure that a king would join the circumpolar stars, the pyramids were laid out facing due north toward the “indestructible” stars. They thought that aligning the pyramids toward north gave the deceased pharaohs direct access to the northern sky. Each of the two stars was about 10 degrees from the celestial pole which lay directly between them. When one star was exactly above the other in the sky, astronomers could find a line that pointed due north. That alignment was only true for a few years around 2,500 B.C. An Egyptian astronomer might have held up a plumb line and waited for the night sky to slowly pivot around the unmarked pole as the Earth rotated. When the plumb line exactly intersected both stars — one about 10 degrees above the invisible pole and the other 10 degrees below it — the sight line to the horizon would aim directly north. However, Earth’s axis is unstable. Our planet wobbles like a gyroscope over a period of 26,000 years. Modern astronomers now know that the celestial north pole was exactly aligned between Kochab and Mizar only in the year 2467 B.C. Before or after that date, the Egyptian astronomers would have been less accurate as they tried to mark true north. The Great Pyramid at Giza is known today as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Nearly 4,500 years ago, in the year 2467 B.C., the “indestructible” stars lay precisely along a straight line that included the celestial pole. Research suggests that the Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed within 10 years of 2,480 B.C.Ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile River to flood their fields and make it possible to grow crops. They became the first to use a calendar with a 365-day year after their priests discovered that flooding returned about every 365 days.They believed stars were Gods…
Egyptian culture was greatly influenced by astronomy. Ancient Egyptian astronomy was very sacred. Pyramids and temples had been built and positioned in relation to the the stars. The Egyptian calendar was based on astronomical indicators as well.For example, when the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, rose before the Sun, the Egyptians knew their annual flood was going to occur.Star-StructuresVarious tools were used when planning the design and placement of a pyramid or temple. One of these tools was called “merkhet,” which meant indicator. This was a small wooden plank with a hole at one end. Ancient astronomers would look through the hole and angle the device until their target star was aligned accurately.Calendar of the CosmosThe Nile River flooded every year at the same time, when Sirius rose before the Sun on the morning of the summer solstice. This event was marked as day 1 of their calendar year. The Egyptian calendar had 365 days and 12 months, with 30 days in each month, and 5 “feast days” at the end of each year.Astronomy & ReligionAncient Egyptian astronomy was a religious tradition. The Egyptians had no true understanding of the universe, so many myths were created as an explanation for astronomical events. To them, each star was some form of God or Goddess, or part of one.The sun was represented by multiple Gods. When the sun rose in the morning it was known as Horus, the reborn child of Osiris and Isis, God and Goddess of the afterlife. The hot, mid-day sun was known as the much more powerful sun God, Ra. And the evening sun was the creator God, Atum, the “finisher of the world” who put to rest all other sun Gods, then died each day at sunset.Astronomy and PyramidsEgyptian Astronomy
- Ancient Egyptian astronomy
Egyptian AstronomyEgyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times, in the Predynastic Period. In the 5th millennium BCE, the stone circles at Nabta Playa may have made use of astronomical alignments. By the time the historical Dynastic Period began in the 3rd millennium BCE, the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was already in use, and the observation of stars was important in determining the annual flooding of the Nile.en.wikipedia.orgAncient Egyptian astronomy was very sacred. Pyramids and temples had been built and positioned in relation to the stars. The Egyptian calendar was based on astronomical indicators as well. For example, when the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, rose before the Sun, the Egyptians knew their annual flood was going to occur.Egyptian CalendarThe ancient Egyptian calendar – a civil calendar – was a solar calendar with a 365-day year. The year consisted of three seasons of 120 days each, plus an intercalary month of five epagomenal days treated as outside of the year proper. Each season was divided into four months of 30 days. These twelve months was based on astronomical indicators as well. For example, when the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, rose before the Sun, the Egyptians knew their annual flood was going to occur.
Pyramids and Astronomy
The Dogon People in Mali
The Dogon people knew certain celestial bodies that were just discovered/identified properly by Western science in the 50s and 60s. They used the stars in spirituality and devised a divination system as discussed in the movie. One of their great treasures is the knowledge of the star Sirius which Dogon elders confided about its existence to French anthropologists in the 1940s. The Dogon elders said that Sirius had a companion star that was invisible to the human eye.
“They also stated that the star moved in a 50-year elliptical orbit around Sirius, that it was small and incredibly heavy, and that it rotated on its axis. All these things happen to be true. What makes this so remarkable is that the companion star of Sirius, called Sirius B, was first photographed in 1970. While people began to suspect its existence around 1844, it was not seen through a telescope until 1862 — and even then its great density was not known or understood until the early decades of the twentieth century. The Dogon beliefs, on the other hand, were supposedly thousands of years old.” To read the full account, check out: The Sirius Mystery and the The Dogon Website.
Facts about the universe:
The incredible scope of the cosmos
For years, astronomers have quoted the results of deep galaxy surveys that suggest something like 100 billion galaxies exist in the universe. A 2016 study suggests that the total number of galaxies could be 2 trillion. We are hanging out in just one of them, the Milky Way. These basic structures of the cosmos, like ships floating on an ocean of vast darkness, give us a glimpse beyond our world to understand the meaning of why we’re here.
years in diameter. In various multiverse hypotheses, a universe is one of many causally disconnected constituent parts of a larger multiverse, which itself comprises all of space and time and its contents; as a consequence, ‘the universe’ and ‘the multiverse’ are synonymous in such theories.
Age: 13.799 ± 0.021 billion years (13.8 billion years)
Mass (ordinary matter): At least 10⁵³ kg
How Big is the Universe?
Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the angular diameter of the full Moon. Image released September 25, 2012.
(Image: © NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team)
The observable universe
In 2013, the European Space Agency’s Planck space mission released the most accurate and detailed map ever map of the universe’s oldest light. The map revealed that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. Planck calculated the age by studying the cosmic microwave background.
“The cosmic microwave background light is a traveler from far away and long ago,” Charles Lawrence, the U.S. project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. “When it arrives, it tells us about the whole history of our universe.”
Because of the connection between distance and the speed of light, this means scientists can look at a region of space that lies 13.8 billion light-years away. Like a ship in the empty ocean, astronomers on Earth can turn their telescopes to peer 13.8 billion light-years in every direction, which puts Earth inside of an observable sphere with a radius of 13.8 billion light-years. The word “observable” is key; the sphere limits what scientists can see but not what is there.
But though the sphere appears almost 28 billion light-years in diameter, it is far larger. Scientists know that the universe is expanding. Thus, while scientists might see a spot that lay 13.8 billion light-years from Earth at the time of the Big Bang, the universe has continued to expand over its lifetime. If inflation occurred at a constant rate through the life of the universe, that same spot is 46 billion light-years away today, making the diameter of the observable universe a sphere around 92 billion light-years. [VIDEO: Oldest Light in the Universe: How it Traveled to Us]
Centering a sphere on Earth’s location in space might seem to put mankind in the center of the universe. However, like that same ship in the ocean, we cannot tell where we lie in the enormous span of the universe. Just because we cannot see land does not mean we are in the center of the ocean; just because we cannot see the edge of the universe does not mean we lie in the center of the universe.