The student helped. In Egypt, found the oldest map of the starry sky on the planet

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A student helped. The oldest map of the starry sky on the planet was found in Egypt

Found evidence that the first map of the stars was created by the astronomer Hipparchus.

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Hipparchus' lost star catalog may have been found on parchment in Egypt. It was preserved in the monastery of St. Catherine on the Sinai Peninsula. It was the oldest attempt to map the entire night sky.

Helped make a new discovery student Jamie Clare, a student of leading biblical scholar Peter Williams. In 2012, he noticed something interesting about the spelling of a Christian manuscript he was analyzing at the University of Cambridge, writes Science Alert.

A student accidentally stumbled upon a passage in Greek that was often attributed to the astronomer Eratosthenes. In 2017, a multispectral image of the document found 9 pages of rewritten text. The find is quite common – parchment used to be a valuable commodity, so it was not uncommon for scientists to scrape off the old skin for reuse.

However, when reviewing the results again in the second year of the pandemic, Williams noticed some odd numbers in the folios of St. Catherine's. So he turned the page over to scientific historians in France. The researchers were shocked. Historian Victor Ghissemberg of the French National Research Center CNRS in Paris reported that they had obtained stellar coordinates.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to say with complete certainty who wrote these coordinates. However, experts know that the Greek astronomer Hipparchus worked on a catalog of the stars in the western sky between 162 and 127 BC. He is sometimes called the “father of astronomy” and is credited with discovering how the Earth “wobbles” on its axis during what is now known as precession. He is also credited with being the first to calculate the motions of the Sun and Moon.

The star map on parchments has roughly the same star coordinates, which corresponded to the expected precession in 129 BC. e. This is the period when Hipparchus lived. In addition, in the only other work that the astronomer left, many of the coordinates also match the document from the monastery.

Only one constellation from Egyptian tomes, Corona Borealis, can now be reconstructed intelligibly. But researchers believe that the entire night sky was mapped by Hipparchus at some point. According to them, the hidden text fragment reads as follows:

“Corona Borealis, lying in the northern hemisphere, covers 9 ° ¼ in length from the first degree of Scorpio to 10 ° ¼ 8 in the same sign of the zodiac (i.e. in Scorpio) in breadth it covers 6° from 49° from north Pole to 55°.

The star (β CrB) to the west of the bright one (α CrB) leads (i.e., rises first) in it, being in Scorpio 0.5 °. The fourth9 star (ι CrB) to the east of the bright one (α CrB) is the last one (i.e. ascends) [. . .]10 49° from the North Pole. The southernmost (δ CrB) is the third one, counting from the brightest (α CrB) to the east, which is 55 ° from the North Pole.

The designations correspond to ancient Greek terminology. “Length” is the extent of the constellation from the east westward, while “latitude” is a description of the expansion of the constellation from north to south.

Hipparchus' math looks more reliable than Ptolemy's, he was only one degree off what modern astronomers would later find. In addition, there is another manuscript, a Latin translation of Phaenomena from the 8th century AD It has a structure and terminology similar to the Corona Borealis passage This indicates that the manuscript referred to Hipparchus This document depicts the constellations Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Draco The description of the stars matches what is seen in Hipparchus' comment.