1 Lecture 3: History of Astronomy Astronomy 111 Monday September 4, 2017
2 Reminders Labs start this week Homework #2 assigned today
3 Astronomy of the ancients Many ancient cultures took note of celestial objects and celestial phenomena. They noted certain patterns in the heavens and were able to construct calendars. The Chinese, Egyptians, Britons, Mayans, and others have left us evidence of their interest in astronomy.
4 Stonehenge Ancient burial mound ca BC Stones placed on top of burial mound Alignment of stones relate to calendar
5 Stonehenge Stonehenge can be used as an astronomical calculator.
6 Mayans Kept excellent track of time with a calendar: years, months, days Predicted eclipses World did not end on December 21, 2012! Chichen Itza at equinox ASTR111 Lecture 3 Built around 600 AD
7 Chinese astronomy Excellent records of astronomical events Observed Supernova 1054 Modern astronomers use these records to study evolution of supernovae
8 Ancient Greece Greek philosophers were some of the first scientists Set the stage for the beginnings of modern Western science
9 Greek scientist Aristotle showed that the Earth is spherical Aristotle (384 BC 322 BC) supported his statement that the Earth is round with observations. The Earth s shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse is always circular. The only object that always throws a circular shadow is a sphere. Columbus did NOT discover the Earth was round!
10 Eratosthenes ca. 200 BC Alexandria, Egypt Measured the Earth s circumference Measured tilt of Earth s axis
11 In-class assignment: Calculate the size of the Earth Get together in groups of 2-4 Write down the names of your group and show your work on a piece of paper to turn in after class
12 In-class assignment: In College Station, Polaris is about 30.6 degrees above the horizon Call a friend in Tulsa to find out that Polaris is about 36.1 degrees above horizon Distance from College Station to Tulsa is about 700 km
13 In-class assignment: I get about km
14 Eratosthenes did this Without cell phones or a GPS to measure distance! Estimated distance traveled on camel from Alexandria to Syene Measured angle of elevation of Sun in both places on the summer solstice Eratosthenes got 42,000 km Modern measurement gives 40,008 km
15 Question Why couldn t Eratosthenes use the same method of measuring the angle of Polaris that we did?
16 Question Why couldn t Eratosthenes use the same method of measuring the angle of Polaris that we did?
17 Greek Astronomers Developed a geocentric (Earth-centered) model for the universe. Basic assumptions of Greek astronomers: Spherical Earth is stationary, at the center of the universe. Earth is corrupt, heavens are perfect. Heavenly bodies move with uniform circular motion. Bad assumptions bad conclusions.
18 Aristotle (384 BC 322 BC) Proposed that the heavens were literally composed of 55 concentric, crystalline spheres to which the celestial objects were attached with the Earth at the center.
19 Aristotle Problem: planets don t move in perfect circles! Sometimes they move backwards against background stars called retrograde motion
20 Aristotle Planets usually move west to east relative to stars; but sometimes, during retrograde motion, they move east to west. ASTR111 Lecture 3
21 Aristotle As we ll see is often the case in Astronomy, there is a way to solve this problem: More data or observations
22 Hipparchus of Rhodes ( BC) Important early astronomer the first observer catalogue of 1000 stars classified stars by brightness discovered precession of the equinoxes Determined obliquity of the ecliptic synodic periods of planets inclination of Moon's orbit place of Sun's apogee eccentricity of the Sun's orbit estimate of the Moon's distance, using the diameter of the Earth as a baseline He put astronomy on a geometrical basis.
23 Ptolemy Ptolemy worked in Alexandria, was active around AD 140. Used results of Hipparchus research and measurements to create a model of how the solar system worked Wrote an astronomy text, later called the Almagest (= the best ). Predicted positions of planets far into the future that were adequately accurate.
24 Geocentric model Belief in Ptolemy s geocentric model lasted until the 16 th century. Cosmographia, first published 1524
25 Ptolemy s explanation of retrograde motion: The planet moves in a small circle called the epicycle. The center of the epicycle moves in a large circle called the deferent.
28 The combination of small and large circles produces loop-the-loop motion. ASTR111 Lecture 3
29 Geocentric model is complicated! Wouldn t it be nice if there were a simpler explanation for the planetary motions we observe? ASTR111 Lecture 3
30 Problem: Ptolemy s model still did not fit data OCCAM S RAZOR During the Middle Ages, Ptolemy s model had to be fiddled with more epicycles were added. The model was needlessly complicated because it was based on erroneous assumptions. entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity William of Occam (c ?)
31 Copernicus Mikolaj Kopernik ( ) Poland Proposed a heliocentric model for the Universe. Stated that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the universe.
32 Heliocentric model Sun is at center. Earth revolves around Sun. Earth rotates around axis.
33 Copernican system ASTR111 Lecture 3
34 Heliocentric model Retrograde motions occur naturally if planets further from the Sun move more slowly. Example: Earth and Mars Earth s orbital radius = 1 A.U. Earth s orbital speed = 30 km/sec Mars orbital radius = 1.5 A.U. Mars orbital speed = 24 km/sec
35 Retrograde motion of Mars As Earth laps Mars, Mars appears to go backward as seen by observer on Earth. Earth catches up with Mars a-b Passes it b-f Apparent westward motion Sees it move to east again g
37 Copernicus met with considerable (scientific) resistance Why? It implies that the distance from the Sun to the stars is much greater than distance from the Sun to the Earth: Stars do not vary much in brightness over the course of a year. Stars do not show a large parallax over the course of a year.
38 Parallax ASTR111 Lecture 3
39 Parallax r The parallax to the nearest stars is about 1 arcsec ( )
40 Radical aspects of Copernican model Earth is not at center of the Universe. Earth is moving. Earth is just another planet. Space is big REALLY big.
41 Conservative aspects of Copernican model Uniform Circular Motion assumed Epicycles still required Again, we need more data or observations!
42 Tycho Brahe ( ) Danish Astronomer who made accurate measurements of planetary motion
43 Uraniborg Island given to Tycho by the Danish king Built an observatory supported by tenant farmers and government subsidy Cost the equivalent of $5 billion!
44 Hven (Tycho's island) ASTR111 Lecture 3
45 Tycho was an excellent observer! Built many instruments Quadrants that measured to ~1 arcminute precision Measured as often as possible Attempted to evaluate errors Among the first to do such things
46 sextant armillary sphere
47 Tycho made many contributions to astronomy Discovered a new star, or nova, upsetting ancient notion of perfect, unchanging heavens. Made very accurate measurements of planetary positions.
48 Tycho s model Unfortunately Tycho never really believed in the heliocentric model Created his own geocentric model that improved upon Ptolemy s
49 Tycho s system ASTR111 Lecture 3
50 Tycho vs. Copernicus Copernicus Tycho
51 Tycho had great data But his ideas weren t so great He lost his nose after all! Luckily, he had an assistant named Johannes Kepler Kepler had no data of his own, but great ideas
52 Few questions: 1) Do the inner planets show retrograde motions? 2) See picture on the right. Is it real? 3) In that picture, could you have Venus instead of Saturn? (tricky)
53 Few questions: 4) See picture on the right. Is it real? 5) In that picture, could you have Saturn instead of Venus? 6) Could you have Mercury instead of Venus?
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