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THE BEGINNING OF ASTRONOMY Early races believed that the earth was flat and stationary with the sky rotating round it once a day The early races also believed things that sound weird to us today like the Vedic priests of India believed that the earth was supported upon 12 massive pillars and during the hours of darkness the sun travelled between these pillars without hitting them The Hindu theory sounds even more peculiar as they believed that earth stood on the back of four elephants which in turn the elephants stood on the shell of a gigantic tortoise the tortoise however was supported upon a serpent floating in a limitless sea All these beliefs had mistakes in the beginning but as more people tried to explore astronomy their observations and records became of more value Most likely the first astronomers were Chinese as they adopted a year of 365 days which enabled them to work out a calendar and from this they were able to predict eclipses The Chinese did not just record eclipses they also recorded comets as so did the Egyptians but both civilisations were puzzled to what the phenomena meant and they probably regarded the phenomena as being part of astrology The early Egyptians were extremely skilful at measuring the positions of the stars as they built the Great Pyramid that lined up with the north pole of the sky This is important as it gave a clue to how old the Pyramid was About 600 years before Christ came the great Greek astronomers Thales was the first of the great Greek astronomers he was born in about the year 624 BC and died around about 546 BC as well as being a philosopher he too studied the stars but he went further and tried to explain what he saw Next was Aristotle who was a famous philosopher who lived from about 384 to 322 BC He proclaimed that the earth
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