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Scientifically Dating the Constellations

by John P. Pratt
29 Dec 2001



There has been much speculation as to the origin of the constellations. Until recently it has usually been assumed that they evolved from the fancies of primitive imaginations, but research now suggests that they were designed as a pictorial scientific coordinate system. A coordinate system is a set of imaginary lines for measuring positions, like the lines of latitude and longitude for determining locations on the earth. The constellations perform a similar function, but they employ pictures, which make it easy to identify stars without need of instruments. Moreover, this evidence points to a time and place that they originated: about 2700 B.C at about 36° north latitude. There are three main lines of evidence that point to this date and location.[1]

The 36° circle of the southern sky with no ancient constellations.
The Empty Part of the sky. There is a circle of about 36° radius in the southern part of the sky which does not contain any of the original 48 constellations. That implies that the originators of the constellations lived at about 36° north latitude because at that location, exactly such an area of southern sky would be invisible to them. Moreover, the center of that circle moves very slowly through the sky because of the motion of the earth's axis. The location of the center of the empty part of the sky implies an origin date of about 2900 B.C.

Slanted Constellations. Many of the constellations are tipped at an angle to the natural directions of north, east, south and west. If one asks if there was a time and place when they would have all been much aligned vertically and horizontally, the answer is, about 2900 B.C. Note that this is an entirely different line of reasoning, but it yields a very similar date and location of origin. Moreover, several of the constellations mark astronomically important areas at the date. For example, the long snake Hydra would have coincided with the circle called the celestial equator.

Star risings and settings. The ancient Greek poet Aratus states that certain stars rise at the same time, or set at the same time, or that one rises as another sets on opposite points on the horizon. Because of the earth's precession, such coincidences depend on both the location on the earth and on the date of observations. Using statistical methods, it has been found that Aratus was describing the stars at a latitude of about 36° (within about 2°) at about 2600 B.C. (within 800 years).

Latitude 36° is too far north for Egypt, and too far south for the Greeks, but perfect on both counts for Sumeria (the civilization from which Babylon inherited much of its science). Accordingly, the Sumerians are now generally credited with originating the constellations. Note, however, that the Sumerians flourished closer to 2000 B.C., and that the evidence is more consistent with the Hebrew tradition that antediluvian patriarchs originated the constellations
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source: johnpratt.com

Also check out these areas of his website:
1, 2,his biblio
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Wow! I am really excited to find this community. I first heard of the concept of "noosphere" in a book by Ken Wilber. On that note, I would like to post a sort of informal article/dialogue I wrote, but I do not have formal references/citations. I can provide resources if it is really necessary. I tried to refer to at least certain persons in my writing, so I hope it is not a problem.

I hope you enjoy!

stages of consciousnessCollapse )

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video about an amazing program that organizes thousands of photos based on their locations to recreate the environment the photograph was taken in.

http://labs.live.com/Photosynth+On+PBS.aspx

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on the nature of multiple worlds, experience of aesthetics, the starkness of discernment and general good will
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History flow is a tool for visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors. In its current implementation, history flow is being used to visualize the evolutionary history of wiki* pages on Wikipedia.
HistoryFlow creates on line for each version of an article. Each author is represented by a color and the length of the line indicates the length of the aricle. By displaying a series of these lines, an image of the creation and revision history by author can be created for an article. Additional tools show the degree to which content has remained constant over time. One thing that they found was that fixes happen very quickly - often only minutes after questionable content has been added. Another is that people tend to view and edit specific sections or paragraphs of an article rather than rearranging the overall article. (This, they thought, may be due in part to the limitations of the editing tools.)
As they analyzed the date, they noted two interesting things. The first was that there were patterns at all (edit wars, for example, can be clearly seen as a sharp and rapid set of peaks and valleys). The second was that when they showed the patterns to people unfamiliar with Wikipedia they quickly got a sense of the site and the community.
more at:
http://www.research.ibm.com/visual/projects/history_flow/
http://www.ucredible.com/OTR/2007/03/16/mit-center-for-collective-intelligence-visualizing-wikipedia-then-and-now-31507/
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what's the deal with second life? it is so intriguing, i barely know anything about it. have any of you had any experience with it? post some explanations/stories please! i'm very curious.






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The inhabitants of a small Russian town called Borovsk have a tradition of painting murals on many of the buildings. This site has images of the murals:
http://englishrussia.com/?p=655

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