“Dawn of Astronomy” gives background of star discovery

The dark planetarium lit up with stars as a recorded presentation began to play, a deep male voice booming about the origins of astronomy.
Dr. Sharon Montgomery, Astronomy and Physics professor at Clarion University, presented the program “Dawn of Astronomy” Sept. 20 to an audience in Pierce Planetarium in Grunenwald Center for Science and Technology. The program explained the importance of Egypt, Babylon and Ancient Britain in regards to the stars, with day and night being the first and earliest indicators of time.
Night was a difficult time because people couldn’t see, and the star patterns formed shapes of triangles and squares. That’s when the idea of a compass was created. The west indicated a symbol of death because stars fall and East stars rise as a symbol of life due to the stars rising.
People would use the big dipper, four stars forming a bowl and three stars looking like a handle, to indicate when the stars and sun rose. Montgomery indicated the location of stars on the ceiling with the help of a laser pointer.
In addition to that, there was Orion the hunter, in which there were two bright stars for shoulders, two stars for legs and three stars for the belt.
The program went on to talk about the expression of the pyramids being a part of Pharaoh’s power and legacy. Babylonians recognized that sun visibility was so bright, people couldn’t see the stars, but they knew they never went away. They also recognized the rising in the East and setting in the west, known as the scorpion.
The sun moves eastward monthly, forming the zodiac signs. After a year passes, the sun goes around to start the constellation back up.
The Babylonians then realized the 360-degree travel of the earth observations of the sky, and gave it the term “circle.”
They established that when the moon is as low as can be, it is only two degrees above the horizon, where it  “danced upon the Earth.”
Montgomery said, “I wrote this program that has been running since last summer. The program existence has been here for 10 years. I wanted to have other shows accessible to general public – we had Christmas and this program and wanted a variety. It was over $100 to program it, but we wrote the program and showed [it] many times over last year and [had] good turnout. What we do for community service is important, and the planetarium is such a great space to show stars.”

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