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Egyptian Astronomy
Epiphany in Space
Galileo Divide between Science & Spirit
Precession Myth
Precession of the Equinoxes
Pythagoras central fire
Time & the Universe
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Alexandria antiquity's great university [under construction]
432 understanding number as rhythm ratio
Aquarius directly across from Leo of 12 Great Years
Bacchus Roman's god of wine and equinoxes
Dionysos Greek's god of ecstasy and balance
Campbell what's your myth?
Cybele Goddess of near East
Isis Goddess of Egypt
Malta center of the Mediterranean spirit
masonry esoteric fraternal org late 2nd millennium
Mithras esoteric fraternal org Early 1st millennium
precession organizing story of 26,000 year cycle
prehistory knowledge of the ancients deciphered
Pythagoras consolidated wisdom of prehistory
pyramids mysteries
Saturnalia Appendix Understanding how myth has interacted with science through history. For example Saturnalia became Christmas
Aristarchus Archimedes
heliocentric Helios
In astronomy, heliocentrism is the theory that the sun is at the center of the Universe and/or the Solar System. The word has come from the Greek (Helios = Sun and kentron = Center). Historically, heliocentrism is opposed to geocentrism and currently to modern geocentrism, which places the earth at the center. (The distinction between the Solar System and the Universe was not clear until modern times, but extremely important relative to the controversy over cosmology and religion.) Although many early cosmologies speculated about the motion of the Earth around a stationary Sun, it was not until the 16th century that Copernicus presented a fully predictive mathematical model of a heliocentric system, which was later elaborated by Kepler and defended by Galileo, becoming the center of a major religious dispute.


Babylonian astronomy or present day Iraq is where the history of astronomy begins as they are the first civilization known to possess a functional theory of the planets. The oldest surviving planetary astronomical text is the Babylonian Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa, a 7th century BC copy of a list of observations of the motions of the planet Venus that probably dates as early as the second millennium BC.

Whereas Greek astronomers expressed "prejudice in favor of circles or spheres rotating with uniform motion", such a preference did not exist for Babylonian astronomers, for whom uniform circular motion was never a requirement for planetary orbits. The discovery of eclipse cycles and saros cycles, and many accurate astronomical observations where used by the Chaldean astronomers Naburimannu (fl. 6th–3rd century BC), Kidinnu (d. 330 BC), Berossus (3rd century BCE), and Sudines (fl. 240 BCE). Strabo lists Seleucus as one of the four most influential Chaldean/Babylonian astronomers, alongside Kidenas (Kidinnu), Naburianos (Naburimannu), and Sudines. Strabo's Geographia in 28 BCE lists Seleucus as one of the four most influential Chaldean/Babylonian astronomers, alongside Kidenas (Kidinnu), Naburianos (Naburimannu), and Sudines. Their works were originally written in the Akkadian language and later translated into Greek Sudines who was at the court of Attalus I Soter late in the 3rd century BC.

Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca. 535–475 BC) was a pre-Socratic Ionian philosopher, who was the first known person to use the term “Kosmos,” to describe the universe. 
Philolaus (c. 470–c. 385 BCE) was one of the most important Greek Pythagorean philosophers whose whose non-geocentric views of the universe failed to convince Plato and Aristotle. His new way of thinking revolved around a hypothetical astronomical object he called the Central Fire.
Hicetas (ca. 400 BC – ca. 335 BC) was a Greek philosopher of the Pythagorean School. He was born in Syracuse. Like his fellow Pythagorean Ecphantus and the Academic Heraclides Ponticus, he believed that the daily movement of permanent stars was caused by the rotation of the Earth around its axis. This trio of philosophers is reported by Calcidius to have thought that Venus and Mercury revolve around the Sun, not the Earth.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene invented the discipline of geography and a system of longitude. Around 255 BC he invented the armillary sphere. He was the first person to prove that the Earth was round, to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis. The third chief librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria  succeeding  Apollonius of Rhodes
The Ptolemaic dynasty was a Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC  The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and later between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her suicide at the conquest by Rome marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt. Their Ancient Library of Alexandria functioned as a major center of scholarship charged with collecting all the world's knowledge. Here the scientific method was first conceived and put into practice
Kidinnu was a renowned Babylon astronomer  said to been killed  less than a year after Alexander the Great  about 330 BC and probably the main creator of  the lunar theory of System B....Berossus was an Assyrian priest of Bel in Babylon and  a  Babylonian historian and astronomer who was active at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. According to Vitruvius' work de Architectura, he eventually moved to the island of Kos off the coast of Asia Minor and set up a school of astrology there, under the patronage of the king of Egypt. Most of the value of Berossos was seen to be his astrological writings which translated key Babylonian texts. Most pagan writers probably never read History directly, and appear to be dependent on Posidonius of Apamea (135-50 BCE), who cited Berossos in his works and was later an important resource for other key works by Pliny the Elder (d. 79 CE), and Seneca the Younger (d. 65 CE). The Greek version of the King-list by Berosus (c. 200 BC) reads "Babylon" in place of "Eridu" in the earlier versions, as the name of the oldest city where "the kingship was lowered from Heaven".Around 281 BC he wrote a book in Greek on the (rather mythological) history of Babylonia, the Babyloniaca, for the new ruler Antiochus I;
The Sumerian religion influenced Mesopotamian mythology as a whole, surviving in the mythologies and religions of the Hurrians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and other culture groups.According to Sumerian mythology, the gods originally created humans as servants for themselves but freed them when they became too much to handle.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene (Greek Eρατοσθένης; 276 BC - 194 BC)  In 236 BC he was appointed by Ptolemy III Euergetes I as librarian of the Alexandrian library, succeeding the first librarian, Zenodotos, in that post. He made several important contributions to mathematics and science, and was a good friend to Archimedes. Around 255 BC he invented the armillary sphere, He is credited by Cleomedes in On the Circular Motions of the Celestial Bodies with having calculated the Earth's circumference around 240 BC, using knowledge of the angle of elevation of the Sun at noon on the summer solstice in Alexandria and in the Elephantine Island near Syene (now Aswan, Egypt).
 Archimedes' (287 BC – c. 212 BC) work is still being digested in scientific and scholarly work thanks to a relatively recent discovery. Remarkable inventions like    Archimedes' screw  made him famous in his day. Today he is called the greatest mathematician of antiquity and influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance
Zodiacal signs originate in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy, as the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. Besides being the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system used in astronomy it is best known through horoscopic astrology.
Hipparchus Born: 190 BC in Nicaea (now Iznik), Bithynia (now Turkey)
Died: 120 BC in probably Rhodes, Greece.
 He was a Greek astrologer, astronomer, geographer, and mathematician of the Hellenistic period. He developed trigonometry and constructed trigonometric tables, and he has solved several problems of spherical trigonometry. With his solar and lunar theories and his trigonometry, he may have been the first to develop a reliable method to predict solar eclipses. His other reputed achievements include the discovery of Earth's precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary sphere, which he used during the creation of much of the star catalogue. It would be three centuries before Claudius Ptolemaeus' synthesis of astronomy would supersede the work of Hipparchus; it is heavily dependent on it in many areas.

Hipparchus is perhaps most famous for being almost universally recognized as the scientific quantifier of the 26,000 year precession of the equinoxes. His two books on precession, On the Displacement of the Solsticial and Equinoctial Points and On the Length of the Year, are both mentioned in the Almagest of Ptolemy. According to Ptolemy, Hipparchus measured the longitude of Spica and other bright stars. Comparing his measurements with data from his predecessors, Timocharis and Aristillus, he concluded that Spica had moved 2° relative to the autumnal equinox. He also compared the lengths of the tropical year (the time it takes the Sun to return to an equinox) and the sidereal year (the time it takes the Sun to return to a fixed star), and found a slight discrepancy. Hipparchus concluded that the equinoxes were moving ("precessing") through the zodiac, and that the rate of precession was not less than 1° in a century. The correct value is 1° every 72 years.

Various claims have been made that other cultures discovered precession independent of Hipparchus. At one point it was suggested that the Babylonians may have known about precession. According to al-Battani, Chaldean astronomers had distinguished the tropical and sidereal year (the value of precession is equivalent to the difference between the tropical and sidereal years). He stated that they had, around 330 BC, an estimation for the length of the sidereal year to be SK = 365 days 6 hours 11 min (= 365.258 days) with an error of (about) 2 min. It was claimed by P. Schnabel in 1923 that Kidinnu theorized about precession in 315 BC (Neugebauer, O. "The Alleged Babylonian Discovery of the Precession of the Equinoxes," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 70, No. 1. (Jan. - Mar., 1950), pp. 1-8.) Neugebauer's work on this issue in the 1950s superseded Schnabel's (and earlier, Kugler's) theory of a Babylonian discoverer of precession.

Similar claims have been made that precession was known in Ancient Egypt prior to the time of Hipparchus. Some buildings in the Karnak temple complex, for instance, were allegedly oriented towards the point on the horizon where certain stars rose or set at key times of the year. A few centuries later, when precession made the orientations obsolete, the temples would be rebuilt. Note however that the observation that a stellar alignment has grown wrong does not necessarily mean that the Egyptians understood that the stars moved across the sky at the rate of about one degree per 72 years. Nonetheless, they kept accurate calendars and if they recorded the date of the temple reconstructions it would be a fairly simple matter to plot the rough precession rate. The Dendera Zodiac, a star-map from the Hathor temple at Dendera from a late (Ptolemaic) age, supposedly records precession of the equinoxes (Tompkins 1971). In any case, if the ancient Egyptians knew of precession, their knowledge is not recorded in surviving astronomical texts.

The former professor of the history of science at MIT, Giorgio de Santillana, argues in his book, Hamlet's Mill, that many ancient cultures may have known of the slow movement of the stars across the sky; the observable result of the precession of the equinox. This 700 page book, co-authored by Hertha von Dechend, makes reference to approximately 200 myths from over 30 ancient cultures that hinted at the motion of the heavens, some of which are thought to date to the neolithic period.

Identifying alignments of monuments with solar, lunar, and stellar phenomena is a major part of archaeoastronomy. Stonehenge is the most famous of many megalithic structures that indicate the direction of celestial objects at rising or setting.

Yu Xi (fourth century CE) was the first Chinese astronomer to mention precession. He estimated the rate of precession as 1° in 50 years (Pannekoek 1961, p. 92).

The Ptolemaic system as written by Ptolemy, in his Almagest is the most important source of information on ancient Greek astronomy. The Almagest has also been valuable to students of mathematics because it provides information on the ancient Greek mathematician Hipparchus' work, which has been lost.
Ptolemy lived in the 2nd century AD, three centuries after the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes by Hipparchus around 130 BC, but he ignored the problem, by dropping the concept of a fixed celestial sphere and adopting what is referred to as a tropical coordinate system instead, in other words, one fixed to the Earth's seasonal cycle rather than the distant stars.
Indian astronomy
According to theosophists, the earliest traces of a counter-intuitive idea that it is the Earth that is actually moving and the Sun that is at the centre of the solar system (hence the concept of heliocentrism) is found in several Vedic Sanskrit texts written in ancient India.[1][2] Yajnavalkya (c. 9th8th century BC) recognized that the Earth is spherical and believed that the Sun was "the centre of the spheres" as described in the Vedas at the time.  

The Babylonian star catalogues entered Greek astronomy in the 4th century BC, via Eudoxus of Cnidus and others. Babylonia or Chaldea in the Hellenistic world came to be so identified with astrology that "Chaldean wisdom" became among Greeks and Romans the synonym of divination through the planets and stars. Hellenistic astrology syncretically originated from Babylonian and Egyptian astrology. Horoscopic astrology first appeared in Ptolemaic Egypt. The Dendera zodiac, a relief dating to ca. 50 BC, is the first known depiction of the classical zodiac of twelve signs.

The Hindu zodiac is a direct loan of the Greek system, adopted during the period of intense Indo-Greek cultural contact during the Seleucid period (2nd to 1st centuries BC). The transmission of the zodiac system to Hindu astrology predated widespread awareness of the precession of the equinoxes, and the Hindu system ended up using a sidereal coordinate system (as opposed to the Tropical System followed by the Greeks), which resulted in the European and the Hindu zodiacs, even though sharing the same origin in Hellenistic astrology, gradually moving apart over two millennia that have passed since. The Sanskrit names of the signs are direct translations of the Greek names (dhanus meaning "bow" rather than "archer", and kumbha meaning "water-pitcher" rather than "water-carrier"

Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (2nd millennium BC) record eclipses and novae. Detailed records of astronomical observations were kept from about the 6th century BC until the introduction of Western astronomy and the telescope in the 16th century. Throughout Chinese civilization, numerous star_maps have been recorded.
Islamic astronomy
Abu Abdullah Al-Battani  (c. 853, born in Harran near Urfa, which is now in Turkey.  – 929, Qasr al-Jiss, near Samarra)  determined  the solar year as being 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds. He also calculated the values for the precession of the equinoxes (54.5" per year, or 1° in 66 years) and the inclination of Earth's axis (23° 35'). He used a uniform rate for precession in his tables, choosing not to adopt the theory of trepidation attributed to his colleague Thabit ibn Qurra. Copernicus mentioned his indebtedness to Al-Battani and quoted him, in the book that gave new meanings to revolution, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium.
Albumasar also known as al-Falaki  and Ja'far ibn Muḥammad Abū Ma'shar al-Balkhī ( 787 in Balkh, Afghanistan – 886 in al-Wasit, Iraq), Many of his works were translated into Latin and were well known in amongst many European astrologers, astronomers, and mathematicians (Mathematici) during the European Middle Ages. Abu Ma'shar has been credited as the first astronomer to define astrological ages - the Age of Pisces, the Age of Aquarius, etc. - on the basis of the precession of the equinoxes through the zodiac. Abu Ma'shar developed a planetary model which some have interpreted as a heliocentric model. This is due to his orbital revolutions of the planets being given as heliocentric revolutions
The Galileo affair was a sequence of events, beginning around 1610, during which Galileo Galilei came into conflict with the Aristotelian scientific view of the universe (supported by the Catholic Church ), over his support of Copernican astronomy
Bob Marley was a member of the Rastafari movement affiliated with  Twelve Tribes Mansion 
Isis Unveiled, published in 1877, is a book of esoteric philosophy, and was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's first major work. The co-founder of the Theosophical Society, her writings connecting esoteric spiritual knowledge with new science may be considered to be the first instance of what is now called New Age thinking
The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell  to encourage and conduct research on human potentials. This research includes topics such as spontaneous remission, meditation, consciousness, alternative healing practices, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities and survival of consciousness after bodily death
Goldilocks planet are of key interest to researchers looking either for existing (and possibly intelligent) life or for future homes for the human race. The Drake equation, which attempts to estimate the likelihood of non-terrestrial intelligent life, incorporates a factor (ne) for the average number of life-supporting planets in a star system with planets.
Arristarchus of Samos:  The Ancient Copernicus  by Sir Thomas Heath, Oxford:  The Clarendon Press, 1913.
Illustrated History of Heliocentrism at
Aristarchus by
Heliocentric theory by
Astrology by historyworld
Samos @
Aristarchus math Lessons by /jmcald
Hipparchus @
G J Toomer, Biography in Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York 1970-1990).
Bel-Ashur and 432,000 Years History
hipparchus @
Egyptian Astronoomy
Galactic Alignment @alignment
"This article was largely copied from here. Isn't that a copyright vio? -- 06:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)? ............?No. Crystalinks copies many of their articles from Wikipedia. This Wikipedia article was changed substantially in June 2006 by Tauʻolunga, which the present Crystalinks article reflects. The latest Crystalinks version in the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), dated April 27, 2006, is completely different from the Wikipedia version, then or now, making it unlikely that Crystalinks made a substantial change during the intervening month of May 2006. — Joe Kress 06:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


Cicero and Seneca
Dalai Lama Quotes
Wisdom quotes for the student of astrology
Principles of astrology - aphorisms on astrology
Koran astrology quotes - Koran excerpts related to astrology
Carl G Jung quotes - collection of quotes related to astrology
Latin quotes on astrology - Collection of Latin quotes

Tycho Brahe Quotes @


The scientific orthodoxy that the earth was at the center of the universe was represented not only by the great authority of Hipparchus through the writing of Ptolemy's  textbooks but also Plato and Aristotle who with little controversy complied with the human need for a philosophy supporting a geocentric system. The power of this myth  lives on more as an important lesson of how Christianity separated science and spirituality at an expense that continues to be tabulated.  While the sky is beyond comprehension, it also represents our innate desire to know the meaning of our existence.
At first flash of Eden, We race down to the sea.
Standing there on Freedom's shore.
Waiting for the sun

Jim Morrison 1970

The first great planetary scientific revolution occurred following the conquest of Alexander when his empire was divided among three generals and Alexandria became a great center of learning under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty. 

The history of astronomy in Mesopotamia, and the world, begins with the Sumerians who developed the earliest writing system—known as cuneiform—around 3500–3200 BC. The Sumerians developed a form of astronomy that had an important influence on the sophisticated astronomy of the Babylonians. Astrolatry, which gave planetary gods an important role in Mesopotamian mythology and religion, began with the Sumerians.

"While most of those who hold that the whole heaven is finite say that the earth lies at the center, the philosophers of Italy, the so-called Pythagoreans, assert the contrary. They say that in the middle there is fire, and that the earth is one of the stars, and by its circular motion round the center produces night and day.

Aristotle,  ((384 BC – 322 BC) the first scientist whose view that the Earth was the centre of the universe and that everything rotated around in circular orbits would not be successfully challenged for 2000 years

During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Babylonian astronomers developed a new empirical approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science, and some scholars have thus referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution. This new approach to astronomy was adopted and further developed in Greek and Hellenistic astronomy. Classical Greek and Latin sources frequently use the term Chaldeans for the astronomers of Mesopotamia, who were, in reality, priest-scribes specializing in astrology and other forms of divination.

Little is known of Aristarchus life other than he came from the island of Samos and was a student of Strato of Lampsacus, during the time when Strato was head of the Lyceum at Alexandria. Only one of his books survives, a book on measuring the relative sizes of the sun, moon and earth that anticipates the breakthrough of trigonometry. His heliocentric theory is mostly known for its refutation by the most prominent scientist of the era, Archimedes. Other records exist in the Vatican library pointing to other important contributions by Aristarchus to the understanding of the 26,000 earth year cycle which may be referenced by countless mysterious archeological gifts to the future.

The pioneering giant Aristarchus's ideas fell into oblivion because they led away from the main-stream that had already been laid down by the less cosmology oriented schools formed in the wake of the giants of philosophy, Plato and Aristotle. The only other astronomer from antiquity who is known by name and who is known to have supported Aristarchus' heliocentric model was Seleucus of Babylonia (190 BC, fl. 150s BC) , a MesopotamianHeliocentric Solar System astronomer who lived a century after Aristarchus during the time Hipparchus and his systemization of the prior millennium of accumulated knowledge gathered for the first time at the Alexandria Library. In 150 BC, Seleucus attributed the ocean tides to the stirring of air caused by the rotation of the earth and its interaction with the revolution of the moon.

Both Plutarch and Sextus Empiricus mention "the followers of Aristarchus", so it is likely many others were convinced of the truth of the revolutionary heliocentric view.

According to Plutarch, Seleucus may have even proved the double motion of the earth, that is, rotation on its own axis and around the sun, in other words, to proved what was advanced by Aristarchus as a simple hypothesis." Plinio Prioreschi in his A History of Medicine  goes on to say that the heliocentric theory was hardly mentioned for centuries until Seneca (ca. 54 BC- ca. 39 AD) posed the question as a possibility.

Hipparchus was a contemporary of Seleucus. Hipparchus is thought to be the greatest astronomer of antiquity, and called by many the father of astronomy.  Although very little of his writing has survived is credited with many of the discoveries from the first great scientific revolution by the academic orthodoxy. Yet he rejected the heliocentric system of Aristarchus, despite the new evidence presented during his day by Seleucus on scientific grounds.

Discovery of the precession of the equinoxes is generally attributed to the Greek Hipparchus (ca. 150 B.C.), though the difference between the sidereal and tropical years was known to Aristarchus much earlier (ca. 280 B.C.) It is true that Hipparchus was the first to really understand it,  measure it and generally convert it from the mythology of the Babylonians to hard science.


Aristarchus of Samos ( 310 BC - ca. 230 BC)

Great insights silenced by powerful myth

Today Aristarchus  is acclaimed as the scientist with the vision to be the first to propose a huge universe. However he was also known to Copernicus for pointing out that if according to mathematical observation, the sun was much larger than the earth then the likelihood was that the smaller body (the earth) revolved around the larger (the sun) rather than the reverse. Like Copernicus he also sided on the side of discretion in his day and withdrew from the role of advocacy in the face of calls for his prosecution for the crime of "impiety."
Aristarchus of Samos
the 1st academic proponent of a Solar system
Statue of Aristarchus at Aristotle University in Thessalonica, Greece
Aristarchus (310 BC - c. 230 BC) Statue at Aristotle University in Thessalonica, Greece Aristarchus made his way to Alexandria sometime before 287 B.C. There he studied under Strato of Lampsacus (d. c. 270 B.C.). His only surviving work is On the Size and Distances of the Sun and Moon. The details of his heliocentric theory were preserved by Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) in The Sand-Reckoner.

With the exception of Seleucus, we do not know other names of ancient astronomers or scientists who supported his finding of a heliocentric solar system where the planets revolved around the sun. Aristarchus' advanced ideas on the movement of the Earth are known primarily from the survived writing of Archimedes and Plutarch; his only extant work is a short treatise, “On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon.”

Because Aristarchus did not have the tools to measure angular distances of heavenly bodies, he consequently underestimated these distances. Likewise, his estimate of the size of the moon relative to the Earth, and the size of the sun relative to the moon were inaccurate as well. Those figures were improved during the next century by Hipparchus.

It is from the writings of Archimedes and Plutarch that Aristarchus' heliocentric hypothesis of 260 B.C. became known. As articulated by Aristarchus, the hypothesis accounted for the apparent motion of the heavenly bodies and diurnal motion of the stars. He not only proposed that the sun is fixed and that the Earth revolves around it, but also that the Earth rotates on its own axis. Aristarchus was roundly criticized--his contemporaries marshaled Aristotelian logic to refute his premise as untenable--although he was apparently never persecuted.

The groundwork for such an idea had been prepared by Pythagorean philosophers. Philolaus of Crotona (fl. 440 B.C.) postulated a universe of concentric spheres at the center of which was a central fire. Earth, an anti-Earth, and the other heavenly bodies, including the Sun, all moved in circular orbits about this central fire. Furthermore, Hicetas of Syracuse (fl. fifth century B.C.) attributed an axial rotation to Earth.

Aristarchus combined these ideas into a true heliocentric model. His universe was spherical with a stationary Sun at its center and the stars fixed at the periphery. Following Hicetas, he had Earth rotate about its axis. He then introduced the revolutionary concept of Earth traveling in a circular orbit about the Sun.

Earth's orbital motion implied solar and stellar parallax. Aristarchus argued, respectively, that Earth's orbital radius was so small in comparison with the Sun's distance and the distance of the stars so great that neither effect was large enough to observe. Aristarchus thus believed the stars to be infinitely far away, and saw this as the reason why there was no visible parallax, that is, an observed movement of the stars relative to each other as the Earth moved around the Sun.Heliocentrism (lower panel) in comparison to the geocentric model (upper panel)

Aristarchus's theory, because it used perfect circles rather than ellipses  failed to predict phenomenon as well as the geocentric mathematical model so it was for scientific reasons that Hipparchus was able to reject the model in favor of the earth centered epicycles.

The Ptolemaic system, formulated in the 2nd century, which, though considered incorrect today, still manages to calculate the correct positions for the planets to a very useful degree of accuracy. It is interesting to note that Ptolemy, himself, in his Almagest points out that any model for describing the motions of the planets is merely a mathematical device, and, since there is no actual way to know which is true, the simplest model that gets the right numbers should be used.
The only work of Aristarchus which has survived to the present time, On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, is based on a geocentric worldview
Studying the relative positions of the sun, moon, and Earth, Aristarchus concluded that during the half-moon each of them occupy respective points on a right triangle. He then reasoned that the Pythagorean theorem could be applied to determine the ratio of the sun-Earth distance and the moon-Earth distance. In fact, his proof of this is best expressed today as a trigonometric formula.

The heliocentric theory is a natural extension of Aristarchus finding that the Sun is much larger than the Earth.

His major extant work, On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, consists mainly of meticulous geometric proofs of this and the other hypotheses which he proposes.  Aristarchus was also the first to hypothesize that the changes in shape of the Moon were due to the Sun’s light being reflected of it. He measured the angle between the Earth, Moon and Sun to get one of the first recorded astronomical measurements. While his size was off significantly he did first find the ratio of the Moon's distance to the size of the Earth. Aristarchus developed the Lunar Dichotomy method and the Eclipse Diagram, the latter of which became a much-used method of determining celestial distances up until the seventeenth century.

The stars are in fact much farther away than was assumed in ancient times, which is why stellar parallax is only detectable with telescopes. But the geocentric model was assumed to be a simpler, better explanation for the lack of parallax. The rejection of the heliocentric view was apparently quite strong. One of the contemporaries of Aristarchus, the Stoic Cleanthes called for the indictment of  Aristarchusas. The following passages from Plutarch (On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon):

 “Cleanthes thought it was the duty of the Greeks to indict Aristarchus of Samos on the charge of impiety for putting in motion the Hearth of the Universe, this being the effect of his attempt to save the phenomena by supposing heaven to remain at rest and the Earth to revolve in an oblique circle, while it rotates, at the same time, about its own axis.”

The spokesman of the scholarly world was Dercyllides, who announced that

“we must assert the Earth, the Hearth of the house of the Gods, according to Plato, to remain fixed, and the planets with the whole embracing heaven to move and reject the view of those who brought to rest the things which move and set in motion the things which by their nature and position are unmoved, such a supposition being contrary to the theories of mathematicians.

Thus despite Aristarchus success in proving his propositions for the widely adapted method of measuring planet diameters and distances, the religious dogma and the ongoing success of the adopted mathematical analysis, both, condemned Aristarchus and his teaching that the Earth circles around the Sun.

Archimedes on the view of Aristarchus

Aristarchus’ book on the planetary system with the Sun in the center did not survive, and we know of it onlyarchimedes.jpg through references to its content, chiefly by acclaimed scientist Archimedes.

Archimedes (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC), who was twenty-five years his junior, wrote:

Aristarchus has brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses, wherein it appears, as a consequence of the assumptions made, that the universe is many times greater than the 'universe' just mentioned. His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun on the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface."

In mathematics, Archimedes anticipated many of the discoveries of modern day science, such as calculus, invented 2000 years later by Newton and Leibniz. He also proved the volume of the sphere is two-thirds the volume of a circumscribed cylinder. In mechanics, he defined the principal of the lever, and is known for inventing the compound pulley
The Archimedes' screw
 was operated by hand and could raise water efficiently Click pic or here

Aristarchus regarded the Sun as one of the fixed stars, the closest to the Earth and held that the Earth moves round the sun’s in an ecliptic.

As Archimedes said, the view of Aristarchus conflicted with the common teaching of the astronomers, and he also quoted it only to put it aside disapprovingly.

 Archimedes believed that the sun was five or six times wider than the Earth and several hundred times larger than the Earth in volume. Historical researchers have suggested that because there was agreement on size difference, it intuitively would made more sense for the Earth to orbit the sun.

Archimedes, like Leonardo da Vinci who likely studied him, designed weapons of war. These were actually used until his City of Syracuse on the island of Sicily which was eventually taken by the Romans in the 2nd Punic war following their alliance with the Mother Goddess Cybele. General Marcus Claudius Marcellus is said to have taken back to Rome two mechanisms used as aids in astronomy, which showed the motion of the Sun, Moon and five planets.

 "When Gallus moved the globe, it happened thatDownload the Moon followed the Sun by as many turns on that bronze contrivance as in the sky itself, from which also in the sky the Sun's globe became to have that same eclipse, and the Moon came then to that position which was its shadow on the Earth, when the Sun was in line."

Selecus the Babylonian
About a century after Aristarchus, Seleucus, (b. 190 BC). a Chaldean of Seleucia on the Tigris adopted the teaching of Aristarchus. Seleucus is known from the writings of Plutarch and Strabo. He supported theDownload heliocentric theory where the Earth rotated around its own axis which in turn revolved around the Sun. According to Plutarch, Seleucus even proved the heliocentric system, but it is not known what arguments he used.

According to Greek geographer Strabo, Seleucus was the first to state that the tides are due to the attraction of the Moon, and that the height of the tides depends on the Moon's position relative to the Sun. He correlated the tides of the Indian Ocean with the position of the Moon, theorizing a causal connection from the Moon to the sea through the Earth's atmosphere. Strabo also credits
 Selecus as the first person to assume the universe was infinite.

" Did Plato put the earth in motion as he did the sun, thePhoebe (crescens) = soror Phoebi = Luna/Diana moon and the five planets which he called the ' instruments of time ' on account of their turnings, and was it necessary to conceive that the earth 'which is globed about the axis stretched from pole to pole through the whole universe ' was not represented as being (merely) held together and at rest but as turning and revolving, as Aristarchus and Seleucus afterwards maintained that it did, the former of whom stated this as only a hypothesis, the latter as a definite opinion ? "


Seleucus may have proved the heliocentric theory  using trigonometric methods that were available in his time, as he was a contemporary of Hipparchus  for Plutarch says he did but not how. The only surviving planetary model from among the Chaldean astronomers is from Seleucus. That these two great minds taught their opposing geocentric and heliocentric views together at Alexandria Museum is possible but not known.

Trigonometry evolved during the third century B.C. as a branch of geometry used extensively for astronomical studies. Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian mathematicians lacked the concept of an angle measure, but they studied the ratios of the sides of similar triangles and discovered some properties of these ratios. The ancient Greeks transformed trigonometry into an ordered science. The first trigonometric table was apparently compiled by Hipparchus, who is now consequently known as "the father of trigonometry

Hipparchus  is considered the first to exploit Babylonian astronomical knowledge and techniques systematically. Hipparchus is thought to be the greatest astronomer of antiquity and he rejected the heliocentric system of Aristarchus, on the scientific grounds of a better model for prediction. A system with the Sun in the center of circular orbits could not account for the peculiarities in the visible motions of the planets, but the theory of epicycles could, and this theory had the Earth immobile in the center of the universe.

Hipparchus in Ptolemy's  Almagest

Rhodes & Alexandria :

The exact dates of  Hipparchus life are not known, the date of his birth (ca. 190 BC) was calculated by Delambre based on clues in his work.  Evidence does show Hipparchus was in Alexandria in 146 BC and in Rhodes near the end of his career in 127 BC and 126 BC.

Hipparchus is best known for his discovery of the precessional movement of the equinoxes; i.e., the alterations of the measured positions of the stars resulting from the movement of the points of intersection of the ecliptic (the plane of the Earth's orbit) and of the celestial equator (the great circle formed in the sky by the projection outward of the Earth's equator). It appears that he wrote a work bearing "precession of the equinoxes" in the title.

Hipparchus  famous star catalog was incorporated into the one by Ptolemy, and may be  reconstructed by subtraction of two and two thirds degrees from the longitudes of Ptolemy's stars.

Hipparchus was in the news in 2005, when it was again proposed (as in 1898) that the data on the celestial globe of Hipparchus or in his star catalog may have been preserved in the only surviving large ancient celestial globe which depicts the constellations with moderate accuracy, the globe carried by the Farnese Atlas.

Astrolabe for astrological calculations is thought to be invented in the Hellenistic world in 150 BC and is often attributed to Hipparchus. Archimedes may devised an even more sophisticated tool.

Hipparchus is recognized as the first mathematician known to have possessed a trigonometry table, which he needed when computing the eccentricity of the orbits of the Moon and Sun. He tabulated values for the chord function, which gives the length of the chord for each angle. He did this for a circle with a circumference of 21,600 and a radius (rounded) of 3438 units: this circle has a unit length of 1 arc minute along its perimeter. He tabulated the chords for angles with increments of 7.5°.

Trigonometry was a significant innovation, because it allowed Greek astronomers to solve any triangle, and made it possible to make quantitative astronomical models and predictions using their preferred geometric techniques.

Much of Hipparchus work was confirming the validity of the periods he learned from the Chaldeans or Babylonians with his newer observations. Preserved examples date from 652 BC but the key insight by Hipparchus may have been transforming these records to the Egyptian calendar, which uses a fixed year of always 365 days (consisting of 12 months of 30 days and 5 extra days): this makes computing time intervals much easier. Ptolemy dated all observations in this calendar.

The earliest known armillary sphere was invented by the ancient Greek Eratosthenes in 255 BC. The Chinese during the 1st century BC (Western Han Dynasty) also invented the armillary sphere, while the 2nd century Chinese astronomer Zhang Heng is credited as the world's first to apply motive power (using hydraulics) in rotating his armillary sphere. Usually a ball representing the Earth or, later, the Sun is placed in its center. It is used to demonstrate the motion of the stars around the Earth. Before the advent of the European telescope in the 17th century, the armillary sphere was the prime instrument of all astronomers in determining celestial positions.

 Renaissance scientists and public figures often had their portraits painted showing them with one hand on an armillary sphere, which represented the height of wisdom and knowledge.
Armillary spheres were among the first complex mechanical devices. Their development led to many improvements in techniques and design of all mechanical devices.

Hipparchus was the first to show that the stereographic projection is conformal, and that it transforms circles on the sphere that do not pass through the center of projection to circles on the plane. This was the basis for the astrolabe.

Besides geometry, Hipparchus also used arithmetic techniques from the Chaldeans. He was one of the first Greek mathematicians to do this, and in this way expanded the techniques available to astronomers and geographers.

Before Hipparchus, Meton, Euktemon, and their pupils at Athens had made a solstice observation (i.e., timed the moment of the summer solstice) on June 27, 432 BC (proleptic Julian calendar). Aristarchus is said to have done so in 280 BC, and Hipparchus also had an observation by Archimedes. Hipparchus himself observed the summer solstice in 135 BC, but he found observations of the moment of equinox more accurate, and he made many during his lifetime. Ptolemy gives an extensive discussion of Hipparchus' work on the length of the year in the Almagest  and quotes many observations that Hipparchus made or used, spanning 162 BC to 128 BC.
In any case the work started by Hipparchus has had a lasting heritage, and was much later updated by Al Sufi (964) and Copernicus (1543.  The catalog was superseded only by more accurate observations after the invention of the telescope.

 The discovery of precession enabled Hipparchus to obtain more nearly correct values for the tropical year (the period of the Sun's apparent revolution from an equinox to the same equinox again), and also for the sidereal year (the period of the Sun's apparent revolution from a fixed star to the same fixed star). Again he was extremely accurate, so that his value for the tropical year was too great by only 6 1/2 minutes.

Precession of the Equinoxes

How the night sky shifts 1 degree every 72 years

Precession of a gyroscope. Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotation axis of a rotating body.  The angle of the earth is about 23.5 degrees
Click here or image to rotate the gyroscope

Hipparchus is most often mentioned as discoverer of the precession of the equinoxes. His two books on precession, On the Displacement of the Solsticial and Equinoctial Points and On the Length of the Year, are both mentioned in the Almagest of Claudius Ptolemy.


Axial precession is the movement of the rotational axis of an astronomical body, whereby the axis slowly traces out a cone. In the case of the Earth, this type of precession is also known as the precession of the equinoxes . Currently, this annual motion is about 50.3 seconds of arc per year or 1 degree every 71.6 years. The process is slow, but cumulative. A complete precession cycle covers a period of approximately 25,920 years, the so called great Platonic year, during which time the equinox regresses over a full 360°. Precessional movement also is the determining factor in the length of an Astrological Age.
The number 72 appears most often as the number of virgins a Iraqi suicide bombers expects to receive as his reward in heaven, yet its likely this number appears in countless myths through the careful early scientific observation of the night sky by priest/scientists known as Chaldeans.

Precession causes the cycle of seasons (tropical year) to be about 20.4 minutes less than the period for the earth to return to the same position with respect to the stars as one year previously (sidereal year). This results in a slow change (one day per 72 calendar years) in the position of the sun with respect to the stars at an equinox. Astrology has been used as long as history is known to measure time and create calendars for rulers. This adjustment to correct for the shift occurs during leap year.

Precession mediates our planets relationship with other celestial bodies and the universe and its knowledge becomes transmitted as stories or myths. [25 920 years = 60 x 432][One zodiacal great year = 30 x 72 years =2160] The shift is 1 degree in 72 years, where the angle is taken from the observer, not from the center of the circle.

Ptolemy and the Precession 

Much of what we know about the work of astronomers like Hipparchus comes from references in the Almagest. Its geocentric model was accepted as correct for more than a thousand years in Islamic and European societies through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Western Europe rediscovered Ptolemy from translations of Arabic versions

The Almagest is the earliest of Ptolemy's works and gives in detail the mathematical theory of the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Ptolemy made his most original contribution by presenting details for the motions of each of the planets. The Almagest was not superseded until a century after Copernicus presented his heliocentric theory in the De revolutionibus of 1543.

Ptolemy followed up on Hipparchus' work in the 2nd century. He confirmed that precession affected the entire sphere of fixed stars (Hipparchus had speculated that only the stars near the zodiac were affected), and concluded that 1° in 100 years was the correct rate of precession.

A complete precession cycle covers a period of approximately 25,765 years, the so called Platonic year, during which time the equinox regresses a full 360° through all twelve constellations of the zodiac.

 Those who follow the belief system that we are entering the Age of Aquarius see it as a turning point in human consciousness in which balance is restored by consciously moving beyond the physical body.
"The Aquarius symbol is metaphoric in content - meaning 'closure in water'. Water represents the collective unconsciousness that which creates the grid programs of our physical reality. Many connect the Age of Aquarius with the return of the goddess, priestess, or feminine energies - those that vibrate above/faster than physical frequency. This is the return to higher consciousness, the awakening of higher mind and thought in the alchemy of time."


In ancient times the precession of the equinox referred to the motion of the equinox relative to the background stars in the zodiac; this is equivalent to the modern understanding. It acted as a method of keeping time in the Great Year [2,160 years]

 Precessional movement is also the determining factor in the length of an astrological age. According to astrological mysticism, there will be unusual harmony and understanding in the world because we have entered the Age of Aquarius.

Egyptian Astronomy

Astronomy was used in positioning the pyramids. One of the instruments used was called "Merkhet," which could mean "indicator." It consisted of a horizontal, narrow wooden bar with a hole near one end, through which the astronomer would look to fix the position of the star. The other instrument, called the "bay en imy unut," or palm rib, had a V-shaped slot cut in the wider end through which the priest in charge of the hours looked to fix the star.

 Bas-relief of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton of the Eighteenth Dynasty, about 1350 B.C. Image: Cairo Museum


They  also used astronomy in their calendars. There life revolved the annual flooding of the Nile. This resulted in three seasons, the flooding, the subsistence of the river, and harvesting. These seasons were divided into four lunar months. However, lunar months are not long enough to allow twelve to make a full year. This made the addition of a fifth month necessary. This was done by requiring the Sirius rise in the twelfth month because Sirius reappears around the time when the waters of the Nile flood. Whenever Sirius arose late in the twelfth month a thirteenth month was added. This calendar was fine for religious festivities, but when Egypt developed into a highly organized society, the calendar needed to be more precise.

The "Sothic rising" of Sirius coincided with the beginning of the solar year only once every 1456 - 1460 years (because of precession of the equinoxes and proper motion of Sirius it was usually a few days earlier than the 1460 years that the ancients had predicted). This rare event took place in AD 139 during the reign of the Roman emperor Antonius Pius, and was commemorated by the issue of a special coin at Alexandria. Earlier heliacal risings would have taken place in around 1321-1317 BC and 2781-2777 BC.

At 1100 BC, Amenhope created a catalogue of the universe in which five constellations are recognized. These  listed 36 groups of stars called decans. These decans allowed them to tell time at night because the decans will rise 40 minutes later each night.

The debate regarding the degree of knowledge the ancient Egyptians had regarding the precession of the equinoxes will never be resolved but here's a collection of evidence in our image server.

Galileo: The Divide Separating Science from Spirit Widens
The Conflict between

Science & Church

 continues unsettled

In the 17th century AD Galileo Galilei opposed the Roman Catholic Church by his strong support for heliocentrism
Galileo's 1633 Trial has created a zone  where scientists have feared to tread for centuries including the 21st nearly 500 years later.

As long as heliocentrism was presented as a mathematical predictive model and not truth the church has been tolerant.

Over time, however, the Catholic Church began to become more adamant about protecting the geocentric view. Pope Urban VIII, who had approved the idea of Galileo's publishing a work on the two theories of the world, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems became hostile to Galileo.

The sarcastic book had resulted in the loss of many of his defenders in Rome and Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633, "for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world", against the prior 1616 condemnation,

The favored system had been that of Ptolemy, in which the Earth was the center of the universe and all celestial bodies orbited it which had earlier prevailed as Aristotle's model during the scientific revolution following the systemization of the Babylonian data by the Alexandria astronomers. A geocentric compromise was available as proposed by Tycho Brae, in which the Sun orbited the Earth, while the planets orbited the Sun as in the Copernican model. The Jesuit astronomers in Rome were at first unreceptive to Tycho's system; the most prominent, Clavius, commented that Tycho was "confusing all of astronomy, because he wants to have Mars lower than the Sun." (Fantoli, 2003, p. 109) But as the controversy progressed and the Church took a harder line toward Copernican ideas after 1616, the Jesuits moved toward Tycho's teachings; after 1633, the use of this system was almost mandatory.

Galileo's heresy trial in 1633 involved making fine distinctions between "teaching" and "holding and defending as true". Galileo’s defense also claimed that the scriptures were not wrong, only the theologian’s interpretations of the scriptures were wrong. The Catholic Church view accorded with the most advanced scientific knowledge available at the time, and agreed with a literalist interpretation of Scripture in several places, such as 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, Ecclesiastes 1:5. Further, since in the Incarnation the Son of God had descended to the earth and become man, it seemed fitting that the Earth be the center around which all other celestial bodies moved.

His defense did not prevail, so in the end, rather then suffer the consequences, he recanted his theories and spent his last years under house arrest. Toward the end of his life, he was allowed to attend Mass again -- on condition that he not mingle with other congregants.

The official opposition of the Church to heliocentrism did not by any means imply opposition to all astronomy; indeed, it needed observational data to maintain its calendar. In support of this effort it allowed the cathedrals themselves to be used as solar observatories called meridiane; i.e., they were turned into "reverse sundials", or gigantic pinhole cameras, where the Sun's image was projected from a hole in a window in the cathedral's lantern onto a meridian line.
An annotated copy of Principia by Isaac Newton was published in 1742 by Fathers le Seur and Jacquier of the Franciscan Minims, two Catholic mathematicians with a preface stating that the author's work assumed heliocentrism and could not be explained without the theory. Pope Benedict XIV suspended the ban on heliocentric works on April 16, 1757 based on Isaac
Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver (Colorado) Newton's work.

Pope Pius VII approved a decree on September 11, 1822  the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition to allow the printing of heliocentric books in Rome. Finally in 1992 Pope John Paul II officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary - it revolved around the sun expressing regret for a what he called a "tragic mutual incomprehension."

Arguments about Galileo, however, rage on. In January 2008, students and faculty at Rome's La Sapienza Benedykt xvi-crop.jpgUniversity torpedoed a planned visit to their campus by Pope Benedict XVI. Their gripe: In 1990, the current pope, who was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at that time, delivered a lecture at La Sapienza that some critics interpreted as a defense of the church's conviction of Galileo.

Meanwhile, Galileo, who was a difficult person in life even for friends trying to defend him, has become and immortal symbol of the conflict between science and the church. Yet the planet is running out of time for whatever boon a realignment or removal of the taboos  allowing exploration of the overlap  between science and religion might bring. There are some important religious leaders who hope the area could lead to a new path than the self-destructive one humanity appears to be heading into at present.

The 14th the Dalai Lama has emerged as a leader encouraging science to better explain subtle energies associated with intimate spiritual experience and phenomenon such as his selection through and intuitive process. After all, there may be little time left.  He has stated:

"We need a little more compassion, and if we cannot have it then no politician or even a magician can save the planet."
"We have only a gross and partial intellectual understanding of consciousness. Our desire to perfect that understanding through analytical research will lead us to the discovery of the luminous, clear, and knowing nature of consciousness."

Epiphany in Space

"The presence of divinity became almost palpable and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes. . . . The knowledge came to me directly -- noetically."


An Epiphany in Space by astronaut  Edgar Mitchell, during a February 1971 mission to the moon on Apollo 14 led to new areas of exploration  Sitting in the cramped cabin of the space capsule, he saw planet Earth floating freely in the vastness of space. He became engulfed by a profound sensation, a sense of universal connectedness.

Does Jung represent a transition into a new scientific paradigm for the 21st century?


"So Jung aims to re-orient the modern map of the psyche by rebalancing the creation myths in his writing...Mother Goddess as synchronicity, allowing nature to express "herself" outside Sky Father causality. In a parallel move, he asserts the presence of the feminine, body, and sexuality in the sacred or divine Self....
"Jung's late works evoke the new holistic paradigm when topics such as synchronicity, the role of eros in the psyche, and quantum physics led him to posit a continuum, not a separation, between psyche and cosmos. The essential qualities of the holistic paradigm include the vital assertion that the world is an interconnected, inter-dependent whole, and thus the division between subject and object cannot hold. Iit follows that reality cannot be observed from outside, that we are always already inside what we look on."

Jung in the 21st Century p.155 by Susan Rowland
C.J. Jung in the Humanities-Taking the Soul's Path Spring Journal Books 2010

 The word noetic is derived from the Greek nous, for which, according to the institute's website, there is no exact equivalent in English. Noetic refers to "inner knowing," a kind of intuitive consciousness—direct and immediate access to knowledge beyond what is available to our normal senses and the power of reason.

Mitchell as a physical scientist, had grown accustomed to directing his attention to the objective world "out there." But the experience that came to him while hurtling through space led him to a startling hypothesis: Perhaps reality is more complex, subtle, and inexorably mysterious than conventional science had led him to believe. Perhaps a deeper understanding of consciousness (inner space) could lead to a new and expanded view of reality in which objective and subjective, outer and inner, are understood as equal aspects of the miracle and mystery of being. The insight led Armstrong to found the Institute of Noetic sciences, which seeks to take science to the borders where consciousness and biological matter interact. A clear connection between subtle energies and consciousness is yet to come

Modern Cosmology

In 1915, Albert Einstein developed the theory of General Relativity, which states that the speed of light is a constant and that the curvature of space and the passage of time are linked to gravity. Einstein believed the Universe was unchanging. He inserted a mathematical device known as the “Einstein Cosmological Constant” into his calculations to make them fit the concept of an unchanging Universe.

A few years later, in 1917, Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter did away with the Einstein Cosmological Constant and used the Theory of General Relativity to show that the Universe may be always expanding. In about 1920, American astronomer Harlow Shapley calculated the size of the Milky Way galaxy and determined that the Sun is not at the center of the galaxy, as was previously believed. Dutch astronomer Jan Oort then showed that the galaxy is rotating about its center.

"But notwithstanding that the world of matter is boundless for us, it still is finite; and thus materialism will turn forever in this vitiated circle, unable to soar higher than the circumference will permit. The cosmological theory of numerals which Pythagoras learned from the Egyptian hierophants, is alone able to reconcile the two units, matter and spirit, and cause each to demonstrate the other mathematically."

Isis Unveiled
by H. P. Blavatsky -- Vol. 1


Is it time to go back to the future yet?

Our view of the Universe was revolutionized in the 1920s when American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the fuzzy or spiral shaped objects astronomers had seen in the sky were, in fact, other galaxies. At about the same time, Vesto Slipher discovered that the galaxies were expanding outward, away from each other. Thus the Universe was shown to be much larger and older than previously thought, and growing, confirming de Sitter’s theory. Since 1998, a number of observations have been made that imply that not only is the Universe expanding, but it is doing so at an accelerated pace, as the galaxies speed away from each other at an ever increasing rates. Prior to these observations it was believed the Universe was expanding at a constant speed.Pythagoras_byRaphael.jpg


Let the sun shine.
---Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
The earliest roots of modern mathematics and astronomy lie in the ancient Near East, in the region formerly known as Mesopotamia which now comprises the modern state of Iraq and its neighbors.
Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomy that developed in Mesopotamia, the "land
between the rivers" Tigris and Euphrates,  where the
ancient kingdoms of Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldea were located. Since the rediscovery of the Babylonian civilization, it has become apparent that Hellenistic astronomy was strongly influenced by the Chaldeans. The best documented borrowings are those of Hipparchus (2nd century BCE) and Claudius Ptolemy (2nd century CE)Hipparchus may have done is transformed the centuries of planetary observations into the Egyptian calendar, which uses a fixed year of always 365 days (consisting of 12 months of 30 days and 5 extra days): this makes computing time intervals much easier. Ptolemy dated all observations in this calendar.

The Sumerians, who settled in Mesopotamia around 4000 BC, mark the first example of a people who worshipped the sun, moon, and Venus. They considered these heavenly bodies gods, or the homes of gods. The moon god’s name was Nanna, the sun god was called Utu, and the god of Venus was named Inanna. These were not the only gods the Sumerians worshipped; in fact, other gods, especially those of creation, were more important in the Sumerian pantheon. The Akkandians, near Sumer, adopted the sun, moon and Venus gods, changing their names. The Babylonian priests correctly documented Venus’s appearances The Assyrian Era marked a new phase in the development of astrology. This time period lasted from about 1300 to 600 BC The Assyrians conquered Babylon in 729 BC, and the inevitable changing of the gods occurred. At this time, the sun god, called Shamash now, was deemed high god. The Assyrians had developed constellations. including the 12 that form today's Zodiac.

The next phase in the history of astrology is the New Babylonian period (600-300 BC). Some of the prominent astrologers of this period were Kiddinu, Berossus, Antipatrus, Achinopoulus, and Sudines.


Colossus of Rhodes, Rhodes was a great center of learning in antiquity sharing masters with Alexandria. It was particularly well known for its school of Astronomy. This huge statue, measuring 32 meters (100ft), was built in 280 BCE by Charès of Lindos. In the earthquake of 224-223 BCE the statue broke off at the knees.
Seconds, hours days, weeks, months and the Zodiac

The Babylonians gave us our system of time as a reflection of the universe

The Babylonians may well be the first civilization. We owe their astronomers our system of time based upon an unequalled long term observation of the universe. The sky-watchers of Mesopotamia identify the five wandering stars, which with the sun and moon form the seven original 'planets' (Greek for 'wanderers').They named the Days of the week after them and this naming scheme is still widely followed today in many languages, including English, and goes as follows:

  • Sunday - day of the sun
  • Monday - day of the moon
  • Tuesday - day of Mars (English Tiw, the Anglo-Saxon Mars)
  • Wednesday - day of Mercury (English Wodin, the Anglo-Saxon Mercury)
  • Thursday - day of Jupiter (English Thor, the Anglo-Saxon Jupiter)
  • Friday - day of Venus (English Frig, the Anglo-Saxon Venus)
  • Saturday - day of Saturn

Babylonian months revolved around the lunar cycle, which lasts about 29 and a half days. (Our word month comes from the word moon). Because the lunar cycle did not perfectly coincide with the day, months would be either 29 or 30 days. As above so below and the 7 visible planets were each given a day in an approximate four week month.

They also used a sexagesimal (base 60) place-value number system, which simplified the task of recording very great and very small numbers. The modern practice of dividing a circle into 360 degrees, of 60 minutes each, began with the Sumerians.

The Babylonians were also the first to set out the twelve houses of the horoscope.  These represent the basic outline of the houses as they are still understood today. The houses were numbered from the east downward under the horizon, and represented areas of life on the following pattern:

  • 1. Life ;
  • 2. Poverty/Riches ;
  • 3. Brothers ;
  • 4. Parents ;
  • 5. Children ;
  • 6. Illness/health ;
  • 7. Wife/husband ;
  • 8. Death ;
  • 9. Religion ;
  • 10. Dignities ;
  • 11. Friendship ;
  • 12. Enmity .

The division of the day into hours, minutes, and seconds, is attributed to the Babylonians (1900 BC - 1650 BC) - and particularly the 11th Dynasty thereof, those we refer to as the "Chaldeans"   The Babylonians divided the portion of the day which was lit by the sun into 12 parts, and the dark interval into 12 more, yielding 24 divisions which we now call "hours." Babylonian mathematicians divided a complete circle into 360 divisions and each of these divisions into 60 parts. Babylonian astronomers chose the same number 60 to subdivide each of the 24 divisions of a day, each of which was then also divisible into 60 parts.

The Rivers of Babylon

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion ... For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song ... How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a strange land? ”

Psalm 137 and important Rastafarian hymn

The song is based on the Biblical hymn expressing the yearnings of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC. It was first recorded in 1970. The namesake rivers of Babylon are the Euphrates river, its tributaries, and the Chebar river. However  for  Rastafarians the river in the song is the Atlantic Ocean and Zion is Africa, where their fathers were taken into captivity to become slaves in America (Babylon)
Rasta doctrines concerning the Holy Trinity include stressing the significance of the name "Haile Selassie", meaning "Power of the Trinity"
File:Flag of Ethiopia (1897).svg
The Rastafari movement encompasses themes such as the spiritual use of cannabis and the rejection of the perceived sins of a society called Babylon. The use of metaphor to communicate problems and solutions to life based upon  materialistic society defined by the oppressor of today with the most ancient of Mesopotamian city-states also references the motherland of Africa as the original birthplace of humankind.

Most consider the prophet Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) responsible for merging Reggae music with Rastafarian beliefs, making it the popular sound that it is today while featuring themes of freedom, peace, love, unity and brotherhood of all mankind and smoking marijuana to better channel a spiritual relationship with God.  The Bible in Psalms 104:14 says, "He causeth the grass for the cattle, and herb for the service of man".

Rastas hold that the late Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie ( 1892 – 1975) is a direct descendant of the Israelite Tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David and Solomon, and that he is also the Lion of Judah mentioned in the Book of Revelation as a messianic figure representing the second coming of Jesus

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about, and that's what these clues help us to find within ourselves."

Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth--an Interview with Bill Moyers

The 1st Scientific Revolution
A significant increase in the quality and frequency of Babylonian observations appeared during the reign of Nabonassar (747–734 BC), who founded the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The systematic records of ominous phenomena in astronomical diaries that began at this time allowed for the discovery of a repeating 18-year Saros cycle of lunar eclipses, for example. During this time, Babylonian astronomers developed a new empirical approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the early universe
and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an
important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science, and some scholars have thus referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution.


 is the Sun a disk of glass which reflects the light of the universe? 

Pythagoras and his student Philolaus
Pythagoras (570-c. 495 BC), who, like Socrates, never wrote anything down, had a student Philolaus Pythagoras-and-Philolaus.jpg(470–c. 385 BCE) who was the first to publish a suggestion of the movement of the earth and planets about a central fire.

Philolaus was a contemporary of Socrates (469 BC–399), and it is reported that Plato, shortly after the death of Socrates, traveled to Italy in order to meet with him and successfully obtained a copy of his book, the first on the Pythagorean doctrines. This treatise based upon the unequalled accumulation wisdom of his master, was a treatise which Plato made use in the composition of his Timaeus. Philolaus book represented the philosophical system of his school in his work called  various by others: Peri fyseos, On Nature,  On the World, and Bacchae.

Philolaus supposed that the sphere of the fixed stars, the five planets, the Sun, Moon and Earth, all moved round the central fire, but as these made up only nine revolving bodies, he conceived in accordance with his number theory a tenth, which he called counter-earth.

The central holy fire was not the Sun for him, but some mysterious thing between the Earth and counter-earth. He named it "estia", the hearth of the universe, the house of Zeus, and the mother of the gods, after the goddess of fire and hearth Hestia. Since the central fire celestial body was necessarily beneath a flat Earth, its existence could not be disproven.

The earth also had to have a counter-balance of the same mass or the universe would be flung apart which led Philolaus to develop idea of a Counter-Earth, a second, flat Earth, identical but opposite to ours in every way. The necessity of a counter-Earth or central fire was obviated by the discovery, at least by the time of Eratosthenes in the 3rd Century B.C. that the earth was in fact round

This is the first historical record of a non-geocentric view of the universe

"Philolaus says that there is fire in the middle at the centre ... and again more fire at the highest point and surrounding everything. By nature the middle is first, and around it dance ten divine bodies - the sky, the planets, then the sun, next the moon, next the earth, next the counterearth, and after all of them the fire of the hearth which holds position at the centre. The highest part of the surrounding, where the elements are found in their purity, he calls Olympus; the regions beneath the orbit of Olympus, where are the five planets with the sun and the moon, he calls the world; the part under them, being beneath the moon and around the earth, in which are found generation and change, he calls the sky.
--- —Stobaeus, i. 22. 1d

Philolaus may have misunderstood his great teacher Pythagoras, because he entangled the idea with extraneous concepts  like "primordial Earth", the "antichthon", for numerological or harmonic ratio reasons. His model had the Earth and the Sun revolve around the central fire. In this model the Earth and the Sun always lie  opposite to each other. He supposed the Sun to be a disk of glass which reflects the light of the universe. 

This mysterious counter-earth was never seen, and misunderstood.  Aristotle's attempt to lampoon his ideas in his book, Metaphysics may have had something to do with this.

Philolaus further advanced ideas about the Earth's rotation around its axis which influenced the heliocentric work of Aristarchus dramatically.

He made the lunar month consist of 29 1/2 days, the lunar year of 354, and the solar year of 365 1/2 days.

Such a theory about the solar system quite well explained the movement of the Sun and the differing lengths of days through the year.  Copernicus acknowledged Philolaus as already knowing about the Earth's revolution in a circular orbit around the Sun.

The Precession Myth
as decoded slightly by Berossus

Berossus, a priest of Bel in Babylon, about 260 B.C. translated into Greek the standard Babylonian reference work on Astrology and Astronomy. He compiled the following king list in his second book based on archives in the Temple of Marduk, which were themselves copies of ancient inscriptions. According to the later writings of Josephus, Syncellus, Eusebius and others, Berossus obtained his information from the ancient archives of the temple of Belus at Babylon. Included in his writings was a list of kings who had reigned before the Great Flood. According to his list Xisuthros was the hero of the Flood.

antediluvian Babylonian
Sumerian King List  

































Total years =


If we take the Sumerian time unit of one soss = 60 years and divide it into the precessional period of 25,920 we obtain 432, that magical number given by Berossus.


Religion stands, the Church blocking the sun.
                ---Stephen Spender

Is Harmony a Tension?

Does Stoicism have lessons for life in  the new age?

Stoicism became the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Greco-Roman Empire.  Stoicism concerns cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that virtue is to maintain a will that is in accord with nature. For the Stoics, the movement of the stars directly affected the fate of people on earth. 

Stoicism first appeared in Athens in the Hellenistic period around 301 BC and was introduced by Zeno of Citium. Central to his teachings was the law of morality being the same as nature. Zeno often challenged prohibitions, traditions and customs. Another tenet was the emphasis placed on love for all other beings. Later Roman Stoics focused on promoting a life in harmony within the universe, over which one has no direct control.

One of the best known Stoics, Seneca (c. 3 BC – 65 AD), was the most prominent Roman to suggest that at least the possibility of the earth rotating around the sun was worthy of discussion.

The stoics were interested in the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (535–c. 475 BCE)  treatment of fire. In addition to seeing it as the most fundamental of the four elements and the one that is quantified and determines the quantity (logos) of the other three, he presents fire as the cosmos, which was not made by any of the gods or men, but "was and is and ever shall be ever-living fire.Download
Heraclitis thinking on the interplay between the tension of the opposites has been incorporated by many of the great philosophers:

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not..."all things flow" ..."the way up and the way down" ....

"strife is justice" or as Diogenes explains: "All things come into being by conflict of opposites, and the sum of things (ta hola, "the whole") flows like a stream.

Tarsus, Alexandria & Rhodes

Alas the destruction of the great Libraries means great mysteries

Tarsus competed with Alexandria and Athens as a seat of great learning during the high civilizations under Greek and Roman rule. The city is  has been cited when discussing the origin of the official Roman elite religion Mithraicism as having been founded by Stoics in the City of Tarsus and spread by its pirates until adopted by the Roman military as official religion. Mithraicism's central story references the precession although few areas with so many artifacts have been disputed so much by academics.
The Face of Helios, the sun god on a coin from Rhodes dating from 200 BC.

Aristarchus was the first to note that if the sun was larger than the earth then the earth likely revolved around the sun and seems to have done much important early work for which Hipparchus of Rhodes was celebrated. Rhodes astronomical school was an extension of Alexandria and appears for a period of time to have been quite taken with the sun. We don't know if this was do to a more widespread acceptance of a heliocentric view which differed from Plato's widely accepted geocentric cosmology. Rome, with the passing of time, also moved towards the more monotheistic solar order as it supported its hierarchal structure as well as competed better against the rise of monotheistic Christianity.

 One of history's greatest scenes took place in Taursus with the grand entry of Cleopatra on a magical barge as the goddess Venus [Aphrodite]. The most celebrated essayist of antiquity Plutarch whose version of this story was adopted by Shakespeare writes that "the word went through all the multitude, that Venus was come to feast with Bacchus, for the common good of Asia." Bacchus was Mark Antony and the two planned to rule their side of the Mediterranean as deities. One of Antony's many empire-building gifts to Cleopatra was several thousand scrolls taken from the library of Tarsus to help rebuild the diminished Library of Alexandria. The destruction of this great vault of learning had many chapters beginning with the first great fire caused by Julius Caesar's wake following his conquering Egypt and bringing Cleopatra to Rome.

Apollo & Sol Invictus
Apollo (early Imperial Roman copy of a 4th century Greek original, Louvre Museum)

In Roman religion the worship of the Greek god Apollo  replaced the Titan Helios as the sun god; however, the Greeks didn't  but referred to both of them as the Sun. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; medicine, healing, and plague; music, poetry, and the arts; and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. Apollo was worshiped in both ancient Greek and Roman religion, as well as in the modern Greco–Roman Neopaganism. was combined with the cult of Sol Invictus.

Sol Invictus originated in the god Mithras, who was a Persian god whose worship became popular in the Roman army. By the 3rd century, the popular cults of Apollo and Mithras had started to merge into the syncretic cult known as Sol Invictus, and in 274 CE the emperor Aurelian (whose mother had been a priestess of the sun) made worship of Sol Invictus official.  That Roman Emperors were members of Mithraism is debated by historians. The worship of Sol as special protector of the emperors and of the empire remained the chief imperial religion until it was replaced by Christianity in the 4th century and the merger called Roman Catholicism.

Constantine with
Sol Invictus

Among academics there are an unusual number of disputes concerning Mithraism, most prominent in addition to degree of Roman emperor participation are any actual link with Persia beyond the name and whether the rituals, which contain many zodiac symbols, reference the precession.

You decide! Visit or

East Indian

15th - 12th Century B.C. - The Hindu Rigveda of ancient India describes the origin of the universe in which a “cosmic egg” or Brahmanda, containing the Sun, Moon, planets and the whole universe, expands out of a single concentrated point before subsequently collapsing again, reminiscent of the much later Big Bang and oscillating universe theories.


Abu Abdullah Al-Battani (858 – 929 AD) was a very famous and influential astronomer in Islamic astronomy, making many discoveries in lunar and planetary orbits. His contributions are not widely credited in modern astronomy, but were still very important in its development.

Biruni, 11th century, suggested that if the Earth rotated on its axis this would be consistent with astronomical theory. He discussed heliocentrism but considered it a philosophical problem.
Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (Persian: عبدالرحمن صوفی) ( 903 –986) a major translator into Arabic of the Hellenistic astronomy that had been centred in Alexandria

Biruni, 11th century, suggested that if the Earth rotated on its axis this would be consistent with astronomical theory. He discussed heliocentrism but considered it a philosophical problem.

Nicolaus Copernicus, 16th century, described the first computational system explicitly tied to a heliocentric model
Nicolaus Copernicus published the definitive statement of his system in De Revolutionibus in 1543. Copernicus began to write it in 1506 and finished it in 1530, but did not publish it until the year of his death. Although he was in good standing with the Church and had dedicated the book to Pope Paul III, the published form contained an unsigned preface by Osiander stating that the system was a pure mathematical device and was not supposed to represent reality. Possibly because of that preface, the work of Copernicus inspired very little debate on whether it might be heretical during the next 60 years.

This book publication represents the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution.

Copernicus originally gave credit to Aristarchus in his heliocentric treatise, De revolutionibus caelestibus , where he had written, "Philolaus believed in the mobility of the earth, and some even say that Aristarchus of Samos was of that opinion." but later crossed this sentence.

"For a long time then, I reflected on this confusion in the astronomical traditions concerning the derivation of the motions of the universe's spheres. I began to be annoyed that the movements of the world machine, created for our sake by the best and most systematic Artisan of all, were not understood with greater certainty by the philosophers, who otherwise examined so precisely the most insignificant trifles of this world. For this reason I undertook the task of rereading the works of all the philosophers which I could obtain to learn whether anyone had ever proposed other motions of the universe's spheres than those expounded by the teachers of astronomy in the schools. And in fact I found in Cicero that Hicetas supposed the earth to move. Later I also discovered in Plutarch that certain others were of this opinion....Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I too began to consider the mobility of the earth."
 ---Nicolaus Copernicus, Letter to Pope Paul III: Preface to De Revolutionibus, 1543

Tycho Brae's Planetary Map
As with most of his work, Hipparchus' star catalog was adopted and perhaps expanded by Ptolemy. Ptolemy in 1598 was accused by Tycho Brahe,  of fraud for stating (Syntaxis book 7 chapter 4) that he had observed all 1025 stars. Tycho who is celebrated for his remarkable work of accurate planetary measurement just prior to the telescope had found that for almost every star Ptolemy used Hipparchus' data and precessed it to his own epoch two centuries later by adding 2°40' to the longitude, using an erroneously small precession constant of 1° per century.

The Almagest also contains a star catalogue, which is an appropriated version of a catalogue created by Hipparchus. Its list of forty-eight constellations is ancestral to the modern system of constellations, but unlike the modern system they did not cover the whole sky (only the sky Hipparchus could see).

In any case the great work of understanding our place in the universe begun by the Babylonians and expanded upon by Hipparchus, Aristarchus and other scientists connected to Alexandria enjoyed a remarkable lifespan, that was rarely updated following Ptolemy until the 16th century when Tycho Brahe's observations from Hven Island near Copenhagen were used by Johannes Kepler to derive a superior predicative model following Copernicus heliocentric publication in 1543 and rules first made known by Pythagoras .

Aboriginals have the longest un-interrupted cultural history of any civilization on Earth, and this culture is stepped in astronomy. The astronomy of the Aboriginals is not like modern astronomy, it is more a religion than a science. The southern skies play a large part in many tales of the Dreamtime.
While this has not left a lasting impact on the development of modern astronomy, it is perhaps one of the first recorded forms of astronomy.
Chinese Astronomy

The long tradition in China of searching the sky for celestialDownload omens has therefore led to an early and unsurpassed precision in star catalogues. The Chinese did not follow the Western tradition of grouping stars according to their brightness but rather grouped stars according to their location. Also, the Chinese formed their constellations from only a small number of stars. (A few (five) Chinese constellations were patterned in the same way as those used in Western Europe. These were: (1) the Great Bear, (2) Orion, (3) Auriga, (4) Corona Australis, and (5) the Southern Cross 

The Chinese Dunhuang manuscript (named after the town on the Silk Road near where it was discovered) is, excluding astrolabes, the oldest existing portable star map known. A Chinese star chart possibly dating from the 7th century AD mapped the heavens with an accuracy unsurpassed until the Renaissance, according to research.  The fine paper scroll, measuring 210 by 25 centimetres, (82 by 10 inches) displays no less than 1,345 stars grouped in 257 non-constellation patterns.

Mayan Astronomy
Like the Aztec and Inca who came to power later, the Maya believed in a cyclical nature of time. The rituals and ceremonies were very closely associated with celestial/terrestrial cycles which they observed and inscribed as separate calendars. The Maya priest had the job of interpreting these cycles and giving a prophetic outlook on the future or past based on the number relations of all their calendars. They also had to determine if the "heavens" or celestial matters were appropriate for performing certain religious ceremonies.
 Dresden Codex -- the so-called "Book of Mayan Astronomy." Ancient Mayans tracked the motions of Venus, predicted eclipses, and revered the Milky Way.

The Maya were very interested in zenial passages, the time when the sun passes directly overhead. The latitude of most of their cities being below the Tropic of Cancer, these zenial passages would occur twice a year equidistant from the solstice. To represent this position of the sun overhead, the Maya had a god named Diving God

Different symbols are brought together in the ball game. Archaeologists think the ball symbolized the sun and the game re-enacted its apparent orbit around the Earth. The sun was worshipped as a god and by playing the game, one became somewhat akin to the Sun-God. But the game might also have signaled a changing season, so that it served a purpose as well. Since agrarian societies require a timekeeper to regulate agricultural tasks, these rituals were vital to the Mayan society's survival.

Pre-Columbian ball courts and other buildings functioned both as religious temples and observatories. The architecture was used to define orientations and mark the passage of time. When Orion appeared through a designated hole or the sun shone directly on a specific spot, it meant spring was near. The pyramid of El Tajín in Mexico,  is made up of 365 niches, one for each day of the year.







Edgar Mitchell, co-founder of the institute  presents