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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Astronomy.docx

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Western University
Astronomy 2021A/B

Chapter 2 – Astronomy How did attempts to understand the sky start us on the road to science?  Questions: o Sun rises in east, sets in west o Constellations more prominent at diff times of year o Moon goes through monthly phases o Planets meander around the stars o And ground beneath was steady/solid  Evidence of powers the celestial bodies had on life, Earth shows why there was so much interest o Moon phases vs. tides o Sun – daylight vs. night o Sun – seasons and time Early Greek Science  Gained power in East around 800 BC – established by 500 BC  Went from human understanding of nature based on mythological to rational  Origin of Greek science to Thales – “what is the universe made of?”  Universe made of water and Earth was flat disk on infinite ocean o First one to suggest world was inherently understandable  Plato carried on after and then his student Aristotle o Relied more on pure thought and intuition than observations or experimental tests  First developed tradition of trying to understand the universe/nature without resorting to the supernatural o E.g. instead of sun moving b/c Apollo pulling it o Caused them to speculate anew about the heavens  Also understood that new ideas had to be challenged  Second, developed mathematics in form of geometry o Solve engineering, scientific problems o Without this, not gone far w/ understanding the cosmos  Third, Greeks understood that an explanation about world could not be right if it disagreed with observed facts The Geocentric Model  Biggest contribution was developing models of nature
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