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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 – Venus (continued), Astronomy in Ancient Egypt.docx

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Natural Science
NATS 1745
Robin Metcalfe

Lecture 4 – Venus (continued),Astronomy inAncient Egypt Thursday, January 16 , 2014 (1) Venus Planet Venus (continued) - 3) Every 584 days, Venus traverses a half-loop around the rising Sun, then disappears. When it reappears, it makes a half-loop around the setting Sun, then disappears again - Inferior conjunction: Venus’dark side faces Earth (invisible) - Venus reappears as a morning star (i.e. before sunrise); first appearance is brightest and at sunrise (heliacal rise) - Venus at its dimmest as it nears furthest point from Earth - Superior conjuction: Venus is hidden by Sun (invisible) - Venus reappears as an evening star (i.e. after sunset); first appearance is dimmest -4) The Mayan Venus records: - 6 pages of the Dresden Codex contains illustrations of the Mayan war hero Kulkulcan, who was deified and linked with the planet Venus - On each page, bottom 4 numbers are the # of days between the 2 appearances and 2 disappearances of Venus - Each row gives the 4 Mayan dates of the appearances and disappearances in each 584-day Venus cycle - The table spans 1 complete cycle of Mayan dates for these events, so they can be predicted for eternity (2) Astronomy inAncient Egypt (3200-331BC) -1) In Ancient Egypt, survival depended on the annual flooding of the Nile River. The Sky was therefore studied for time-keeping -Habits of astronomy in ancient Egypt influenced by its geography (most specifically the Nile River)  Survival depended on flooding of Nile River; therefore they needed to be able to predict this -2) Annual cycle of the stars: - Due to Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun, our visible wind
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