Equinox.

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Equinox.

Postby Digit » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:47 am

I'm not sure if this is the correct section for this or not, but here goes.
The Equinox this week, and once again I wonder about the knowledge of our ancestors.
Who found out about equinoxes and when I wonder?

Roy.
First people deny a thing, then they belittle it, then they say it was known all along! Von Humboldt
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Tiompan » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:25 pm

The problem is that the equinoexs are only roughly equal day and night at places where the horizon is flat ,if you live in a hilly area the sun will not rise in the east and set in west ,e.g. I was just checking the equinox as it would have been seen from the chambered cairn , Ty Isaf in Wales (btw I'm not suggesting there is an equinox alignment here ) but due to the steep hills on ither side the would rise a 103 degrees and set at 257 ,13 degrees "out " for both . Why should this be of importance for the observers ?.The solstices on the other hand , where the sun was at it's extremes regardless of the horizon , that would be important .

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Re: Equinox.

Postby Digit » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:17 pm

I live in Wales George, at the bottom of what in Welsh is called a CWM, (pronounced COOM). In other words a glacial valley with hills on three sides, so of course equal day/night is not on, as you point out.
Therefore who ever arrived at the understanding must have lived either on a flat plain or a small island surrounded by the sea IMO. They would also have needed a fairly accurate time piece.
They would have also to have to have lived close to the equator, as atmospheric refraction at higher latitudes would effect timing.
Thus I suspect middle east?

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First people deny a thing, then they belittle it, then they say it was known all along! Von Humboldt
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Re: Equinox.

Postby kbs2244 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:46 pm

Could it not have just been calculated?
Half way between the solstices.
Not a very hard thing to do.
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Digit » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:58 pm

That only moves the problem kb.
To do that you would have to be aware of both the solstice and the equinox.
Most people today don't even know what they are!

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First people deny a thing, then they belittle it, then they say it was known all along! Von Humboldt
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:19 pm

Digit wrote:Who found out about equinoxes and when I wonder?


They had to keep precise records in order to be able to predict the next occurrence of whatever celestial phenomenom they cared to deem important (they were signs from the gods after all).
It seems to me the apparently astronomically oriented neolithical and archaeological structures were those records. Like, obviously, the pyramids, the henges, the ziggurats, etc. etc. So I would consider the builders of those, or their immediate ancestors, to be the ones who "found out". You can fill in when as relevant of course.

The architects of the day appear to have been more like today's accountants: building (literally) precise records from which to periodically draw forecasting conclusions. Probably presented as predictions. And, of course, as the word of God.

Today that's the god Mammon, of course.

Just consider: the annual reports of today's giant corporations may be the pyramids of our progeny. :lol:
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Tiompan » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:48 am

kbs2244 wrote:Could it not have just been calculated?
Half way between the solstices.
Not a very hard thing to do.

That’s the problem it’s only half way when the horizon points for solstices and equinoxes are similar . Hilly areas can skew things by days . Unlike the solstices the equinox may not have been as important or meaningful as it is for Christians who calculate dates of a major festival in relation to it .However one aspect of the equinox that might have been noted was the appearance of a “ red moon “ which happens when a full moon rises close to 180 degrees away from a setting sun ,there is also a roughly 30% possibility of a an eclipse happening at this point too .

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Re: Equinox.

Postby kbs2244 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:42 am

“To do that you would have to be aware of both the solstice and the equinox.”

True, but the knowledge of the longest and shortest day of the year seems to be pretty wide spread.
If it was known that there was a long day/short night as well as a short day/long night,
Then it doesn’t rake too much imagination to come up with the idea that there must be a time when they were equal.
And logic would say it was half way between the other two occurrences.
It may not have been dead on, but close enough for religious work.
For sure when no one could double check you due to the landscape.

“Most people today don't even know what they are!”

Do you know what I blame that on?
Street lights.
For thousands of years people watched the stars in awe.
Then someone invented the street light.
Now there are millions of people that have never seen a star.
“Light pollution” is a major problem to older sited observatories.
Look at one of those PICs that shows the Earth at night and all the lights by major cities.
They publish them to show where “civilization” is.
But it the dark areas that show where people know what the night sky looks like.
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Tiompan » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:51 am

kbs2244 wrote:
They publish them to show where “civilization” is.
But it the dark areas that show where people know what the night sky looks like.

One point that the North Koreans have in their favour .
George
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Re: Equinox.

Postby Digit » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:55 am

'Light pollution!'
Boy are you right. My wife was a city dweller, till we married and eventually moved here to rural Wales twenty years ago. That first winter my wife came rushing to see about the sky one night, it was the Milky Way, she had never seen it before.
With one street light, conveniently placed so as to be totally useless, our night sky is wonderful to see.

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