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The Early History of Astronomy

The evolution of astronomy has indeed gone a very long way. Americans and Russians have made advancements in astronomy over the years and there are all sorts of astronomy clubs around the world. There are some especially unique pieces of equipment used today. However, the early history of astronomy is one of the most interesting parts of astronomy in that it shows how far the science has gone.


Astrology was directly linked with astronomy in the days before the Common Era began. Whereas astronomy is the study of space, including stars, planets and other things with an emphasis on science, astrology is the study of zodiac signs with the intention to measure how the growth and future of one person will be. These were both used together with no separations between one another.

The Babylonian civilization from before the Common Era is seen as the earliest of the groups that had used astronomy. However, there were some other countries where astronomy was becoming separate from astrology. Much of the Arabian Peninsula was interested in this study, and the evolution of astronomy came into its own in China and India as well. In fact, astronomy was well linked to religion in these areas, as the original story of Christmas states that the Magi had followed a star in the sky to find the savior of their people.

The first book involving astronomy was written by Ptolemy, a Greek scientist in the days of the Greek Empire. Since then many others have looked into this field, including Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and in more recent times Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Various words used today are from the evolution of astronomy. For instance, influenza comes from a Latin word for influence in that it was believed that the positioning between the moon and stars could influence the health of a person or to help cure diseases. Disaster comes from a Latin word for “bad star,” and lunatic comes from the root word of “Luna,” which is the Latin word for moon. That was formed from a belief in Latin times that during a full moon a person could end up acting in irrational behavior.

Also, Sunday and Monday are considered to have been the start of a week because they are used in astronomy for time. The literal interpretations of these days in astronomy is that they are considered to be the days of the sun and moon.

The evolution of astronomy is an amazing thing, and the early history of astronomy is unique in that it has gone to where more people are following it to this day. As time goes along there will certainly be more discovering, but it is the discoveries of those from the past that have helped to make astronomy what it is today.


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