Since ancient times, humans have been engaged in a continual quest to find meaning in and make sense of sights and events in the night sky. Cultures spread around the world recorded their earliest efforts in artwork made directly on the natural landscapes around them, and from there they developed more and more sophisticated techniques for observing and documenting astronomy.
This book brings readers on an astronomical journey through the ages, offering a history of how our species has recorded and interpreted the night sky over time. From cave art to parchment scribe to modern X-ray mapping of the sky, it chronicles the ever-quickening development of tools that informed and at times entirely toppled our understanding of the natural world.
Our documentation and recording techniques formed the bedrock for increasingly complex forays into astronomy and celestial mechanics, which are addressed within these chapters. Additionally, the book explores how nature itself has recorded the skies in its own way, which can be unraveled through ongoing geological and archaeological studies.
This tale of human discovery and ingenuity over the ages will appeal to anybody interested in the field of astronomy and its rich cultural history.
Jonathan Powell is a native of South Wales. With an interest in astronomy and related subjects since the late 1970's, Jonathan has written for UK national astronomical magazines, and broadcast on the topic at both the regional and national level for BBC Radio, dating back to 1985. Jonathan also took part in a BBC Radio 4 documentary series on meteorites. He has been secretary of his local astronomical society for the past 20 years and is the British Astronomical Association's "Campaign for Dark Skies" county officer. A former member of the Association for Astronomy Education - which encouraged and promoted astronomy among the young - he also headed up "SpaceQuest," an educational lecture tool, which toured schools with a two hour presentation on astronomy. His publications include three articles in Astronomy Now magazine. He has written a book about castles in South and West Wales, Fortress Wales, and articles on observational astronomy published in astronomical society newsletters. His two published books include Cosmic Debris and Rare Astronomical Sights and Sounds.
Chapter One - Introduction.- Chapter Two - Cave Paintings - Part I.- Chapter Three - Cave Paintings - Part II.- Chapter Four - The Astrolabe.- Chapter Five - Supernovae.- Chapter Six - Mercury Transitions.- Chapter Seven - Shi Shen to Charles Messier.- Chapter Eight - The 1639 Transit of Venus.- Chapter Nine - Comets.- Chapter Ten - Astronomical Observatories.- Chapter Eleven - Fossils, Tree Rings, and Ice.- Index.