Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Astronomical interest in the Big Dipper

Heritage Key (Owen Jarus)

New research on a 2,400 year old star table shows that the Ancient Egyptians kept close tabs on the Big Dipper, monitoring changes in the constellation’s orientation throughout the course of an entire year.

The Big Dipper is composed of seven stars and is easily viewable in the northern hemisphere. Its shape looks like a ladle with a scoop attached. Ancient Egyptians represented it as an ox’s foreleg.

If a person were to observe the constellation at the exact same time every night they would see it gradually move counter-clockwise each time they saw it.

Professor Sarah Symons, of McMaster University in Hamilton Canada, carried out the new research.

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