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Sun, Moon and Earth

5 4 Some early SolutIonS from megaliths to the Maya Skywatching is an ancient art. Stone circles date from 3000 BC, aligned megaliths even earlier. The Egyptians were using accurate surveying and a precise metrology for both sky and Earth. The Great Pyramid enshrined its date of construction through astronomical alignments to fixed stars. The Sumerians recorded astral cycles from 2200 BC and later defined the 24 hour day and 360 degree circle. Chaldean and Chinese astronomers knew of the Saros eclipse cycle page 32. Various solar calendars were in use, and lunar calendars of 354 days. From 600 BC, the Greeks inherited this ancient wisdom. Eratosthenes measured the size of the Earth and Eudoxus devised a solution for the complex motion of the Moon. In the 4th century BC, the 19 year cycle of Sun and Moon was described by Meton. The Romans gave us our modern calendar in 45 BC. When the Empire collapsed around 500 AD the Arab world kept the torch of learning burning as Europe sank into the Dark Ages. Following the Crusades this material returned, seeding the Renaissance in Europe. Copernicus showed that the Earth orbited the Sun, whilst Galileos telescope revealed moons orbiting other planets. Kepler published his three laws of planetary motion in the early seventeenth century, whence Newton used data about the Moon to quantify his universal laws of motion and gravity in 1687, thereby spawning our modern world. A century later Harrisons chronometer greatly improved timekeeping and navigation.
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