Blog

Earliest Known Star Map Discovered in Egypt

todayOctober 19, 2022 17

Background
share close
AD

Researchers announced yesterday they’ve found the world’s oldest known map of the stars.  Dating from the 2nd century BC , the map is attributed to the Greek astronomer and mathematician, Hipparcus.  Amazingly, it was found hidden behind overlaid ink within later medieval texts found in Egypt.

Papyrus and other writing surfaces were valuable and often “recycled” in ancient times, with scribes writing over old text.  Today’s advanced imaging techniques can see what the human eye cannot – and what they found was astonishing.

Hipparcus’ Genius

Well over 2000 years ago, Hipparcus noted the coordinates of the constellation Corona Borealis, along with a  greater map of the heavens.  The map was described by his contemporaries but was thought to have been lost to the ages.

His observations led him to believe that the Earth was the center of the universe.  He wrong on that count, but his research and mathematics were principled and methodical.  It’d be another 1.5 millennia before European astronomer Copernicus proved heliocentricity – and he was standing on the shoulders of giants.

Hipparcus also discovered and described the precession of the equinoxes (how stars move along the ecliptic due to the earth’s wobble).  Ironically, precession is a key concept in astrology – a divinatory practice he disdained.

He measured our solar year and studied eclipses, arriving at startlingly correct conclusions.  As far back as 127 BC, he accurately measured the distance between the earth and the moon and was the founder of trigonometry.

Nothing New Under the Sun

Was he the first to map the stars?  Of course not – but these once-lost documents, hidden on recycled paper behind medieval manuscripts, show us the intelligence, dedication, and wonder of our ancient searchers of truth.  We may also wonder what those medieval scribes may have learned as they were writing over the words and calculations of one of the most accomplished scientists of all time.

Source: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00218286221128289

AD

Written by: maia

Rate it

Previous post

Anthony Tyler Articles

BHA22: Fortean Fright-Fest in the Pacific Northwest (feat. Bob Antone)

After a two-week break, this next episode picks up right where the last left off: discussing and investigating the outer limits of strangeness! Joined by my friend, Fortean investigator Bob Antone, we discuss some of the stranger and creepier stories he's encountered throughout his life in North Bend, Washington with his wife Laura.   You can listen to the episode right here!   Laura is a native of the First […]

todayOctober 18, 2022 4

Become an Outsider and stay up-to-date with all things fringe

Sister Music Station

Contact Us

AD
0%