Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ancient sea travellers had heads in the clouds - Telegraph

Ancient sea travellers had heads in the clouds - Telegraph

"A stone tool found on a remote Pacific island has provided evidence that early Polynesians travelled 2,500 miles by canoe using only the stars, clouds and seabirds as navigational aids."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Astronomy, Cosmology, and Rock Art : California Tree Carvings - Arborglyphs of the Chumash - Could Respresent the Stars - TIME

TIME reads:
California Tree Carving Hints at Early Chumash Astronomy.

graphic by Rick Bury linked from the TIME article

Matt Kettman in his TIME report titled A Tree Carving in California: Ancient Astronomers? writes inter alia about an article published by paleontologist Rex Saint Onge in the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology:
"It became increasingly obvious to Saint Onge that the arborglyph and related cave paintings weren't just the work of wild-eyed, drug-induced shamans — which has been a leading theory for decades — but that the ancient images were deliberate studies of the stars and served as integral components of the Chumash people's annual calendar."
See in this regard:

Hudson and Underhay: Crystals in the Sky: An Intellectual Odyssey Involving Chumash Astronomy, Cosmology, and Rock Art, review by Albert B. Elsasser.

For a sceptical view of the astronomical interpretation, see: Philosophy of Science Portal - Saint Lucia Mountains yields an arborglyph with astronomical graphics

There is little doubt in our mind that Saint Onge is correct, but an arborglyph of this nature - standing alone - is most certainly not as conclusive a proof as the figures found carved into stone systematically over larger territorial areas. See my book Stars Stones and Scholars.

Co-author of the Chumash arborglyph article with Saint Onge was anthropologist John Johnson of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, who was quoted as saying:
" "Whether we're right or not, I don't know, but we keep finding things that strengthen the idea," says Johnson. "And if we keep finding ethnographic support for it, I feel we're on safer ground.
Not just ethnographic support, but much other evidence is also available. People publishing in this field of archaeoastronomy should first read my book, consult my many related websites, including, and also look at the decipherment FILES (left column menu there) at the LexiLine group on the History of Civilization (slowly being moved to the LexiLine Journal, or its mirror here).

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sirius Rising: To questions that dogged astronomers, a Sirius solution - The Boston Globe

To questions that dogged astronomers, a Sirius solution - via The Boston Globe, February 6, 2010, by Alan M. MacRobert, Globe correspondent and senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine in Cambridge ( His Star Watch column appears the first Saturday of every month.

One astronomical problem from the ancient world is that Claudius Ptolemy in Alexandria listed Sirius as one of six bright stars in the heavens having a "sub-red" or fiery character. Whereas that description fits the other five stars listed by Ptolemy, Sirius is not reddish at all, but a bright white or blue-white star. Indeed, it is the brightest star in the heavens - as seen from Earth. So why did Ptolemy list it as a fiery reddish star?

What is a likely answer? Read the article to find out. Sorry about the misleading ad that pops up at that website - we generally avoid websites that permit this kind of advertising.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Google Earth Images Confirm Mythological Meteor Impact | Popular Science

Google Earth Images Confirm Mythological Meteor Impact | Popular Science
"Australian Aborigine mythology begins in a period known as the 'dream time', before the emergence of humanity. Many stories about the dream time include legends about stars, gods, or rocks falling from the sky. And new research utilizing Google Earth surveys of the outback show that many of those myths may actually be historically accurate.

Writing in the journals Archaeoastronomy and Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Duane Hamacher, an astrophysicist Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, describes how examination of Aborigine myths led him to discover previously unidentified blast crater about 81 miles south of the town of Alice Springs."

APOD: 2010 January 15 - Scenes from Two Hemispheres

APOD: 2010 January 15 - Scenes from Two Hemispheres