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Astronomy – Important Dates BC

By Guest

There is no uncertainty that astronomy is the oldest science and there is also no hesitation that astronomy was being studied by everyone, not only the wise men, thousands and thousands of years ago.

We do not understand exactly why they did it, but we can surmise that early man noticed a correlation between the weather and the stars, which were themselves not fully understood, of course.

Early man, probably even as far back as Neanderthal man, noticed the relationship between the weather and herd movements and crop growth, or at least fruit and nuts on local trees, if they did not have planted crops.

This means that people could see a connection between the stars and food availability. This relationship was probably ritualized into some sort of religion like early Wicca. Therefore, the stars became a very important part of the lives of every single person and it is likely that astrology and astronomy were widely intermixed by the average person.

However, there were also people who did not only use the stars as some enormous celestial clock and who tried to make sense of the whole shebang. I am going to narrate below, eight of the most important dates or years in the history of astronomy before Christ walked on the Earth. Never forget that they had nothing but an abacus to do there calculations and no telescopes, which came about two thousand years later.

585 BC: Thales of Miletus (c. 625- c. 547), a Greek, predicted a solar eclipse in Asia Minor purely on the basis of his observations and calculations. It was not a lucky guess!

c. 400 BC: the astronomer Oenopedes (5th. century). also a Greek, announces that the Earth is tilted on its axis with respect to the Sun.

352 BC: the Chinese report what they called a ‘guest star’, a supernova, which was the earliest reported sighting.

340 BC: The astronomer, Kidinnu (b. Babylon c. 379 BC) discovers the precession of the Equinoxes, ie the apparent change in the position of the stars caused by the Earth’s wobbling on its axis.

c. 300 BC: a ‘committee’ of Chinese astronomers compile star maps of the visible universe.

c. 240 BC: Chinese astronomers observe and make notes about Halley’s Comet. Also Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 – c.194 BC), a Greek, correctly calculate the Earth’s dimensions.

165 BC: Chinese astronomers notice sunspots for the first time.

c. 130 BC: the astronomer Hipparchus of Nicea (b. 147 BC), a Greek, correctly calculates the distance to the Earth’s Moon and also rediscovers the precession of the Equinoxes.

You will see from the dates above that obviously not everyone let nature and the stars govern their lives, as the common farmer or hunter did. Some men actually took pen to paper, but before pen and paper even existed, and tried to work out ‘why these manifestations occurred?’.

These individuals must have been remarkable men to have worked these measurements out by calculation, observation by the naked eye and rationalization alone.

Do you like to read about astronomy, then please visit our website at:

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Guest, Guest "Astronomy – Important Dates BC." Astronomy – Important Dates BC. 12 Jul. 2010. 17 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Guest, G (2010, July 12). Astronomy – Important Dates BC. Retrieved September 17, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Guest, Guest "Astronomy – Important Dates BC"

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