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Archaeology of the Stars

October 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Monmouth College

Archaeology of the Stars was sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Western Illinois Society and the Monmouth College Department of Classics, with the collaboration of the Physics Department. It included a lecture on Roman origins of planets and constellations to celebrate this year’s International Archaeology, which is held each year on the third Saturday of October and is celebrated all around the world. The lecture was at 7:30 pm in the Pattee Auditorium of Center for Science and Business room 100. The Observation of the Stars was at 8:30 pm at the Adolphson Observatory on the roof of the Center for Science and Business.

Dr. Jennifer Martinez-Morales explored how ancient Greek and Roman civilizations interacted with the night sky. Martinez went on to talk about several mathematicians, astronomers, and stargazers and how they were looked down upon by the church during their time. A few individuals that were discussed during the lecture were Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, and Hypatia. Anaxagoras was a stargazer that realized the study of the sun and the moon. Pythagoras was the first to discover that planets had their own orbit. Hypatia of Alexandria was an influential figure and a woman that we know very little about, but she had quite an impact on the history of astrology.

Dr. Martinez-Morales says the stargazers were more interested in measuring distance. Early stargazers focused on the mathematical aspect of the stars and planets by trying to measure the distance between the earth, the moon, and the sun with geometry.

Following the talk, an observation of planets and constellations was scheduled at the Adolphson Observatory in the Center for Science and Business. However, due to cloudy skies, the second half of the presentation was canceled.

Denzel Johnson
Contributing Writer

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