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By Peter Doig

The aim of this quantity is to supply in a concise demeanour yet as comprehensively as attainable an updated account of price to the overall reader looking a data of the advance of the technology of astronomy, so that it will even be a convenient reference booklet worthwhile to scholars as a checklist of the most occasions and of the manager paintings of person astronomers.

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The centre of Greek scientific activity was in Alexandria, Athens taking a secondary place. ries. rchus believed that the Sun and the fixed stars are Il1otionless, vvith the Sun in the centre of the occupied space, that the I~arth is a globe rotating on an axis, and that it re\Tolves round the Sun. TIe rneasured the apparent dialneter of the SUIl and found it to be half a degree (nearly correct), and derived the c0111pa,rative distances of the lVIoo11. and the Sun. lIe did this by a,scertaining that \vhen the Moon is half full the angle luade by the lines joining the I~a,rth and Moon ,vith the Sun "vas ~)O.

The same sort of explanation was advanced for the Moon and stars, and the lunar ring was 19 tiInes the dialneter of the Earth. The Moon was self-lulninous; regular partial stoppages of the aperture in the ring caused the Moon's phases and occasional stoppages were responsible for solar and lunar eclipses. These ideas are difficult to comprehend, but they Inay have suffered in transmission to us through the later writings of others by which they became known. His greatest and most useful practical vvork was the making of charts of the Earth's surface, probably based on the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Inaps he had seen.

It \vill be evident that the Ionians did not progress Inuch to\v(lrds a rational idea of the universe. 'I'he I;:(lrth ,"vas flat; fixed stars \vere attached to the vault of the sky; and ideas of the Sun and Moon \vcre very fanciful. IncIeed their ideas seenl to have retrograded after ]'hales hinlsclf. ) of E,phcsus h<1(1 sirnilarly fantastic notions. i:arth, caught in a hollo\;v basin \vith its cavity facing' do\vll\vards. 'rhis basin rises fro1H the sea in the C;lSt and the fire it contains is extinguished at sunset in the \vest..

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A Concise History of Astronomy by Peter Doig


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