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Stay cool and comfortable, even on your longest workout with the built-in, oversized fan that automatically adjusts the fan speed to match your workout KPH. Perfectly clear and easy to read, this backlit display has a large viewing angle so no matter how tall or short you are, you can always keep track of your workout progress. We perceive the universe we inhabit has three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. Such a “hint” could be confirmed by observing lunar eclipses (shadow of the Earth is round as well). Observing the movement of stars at night as well as the movement of the sun and the moon, makes it obvious that our planet is rotating around its own axis. Observing during a year changes of the position of the sun at noon (or specific stars at night) relative to the local horizon could lead to discovery of the axial tilt and measurement of its exact value. At night we can look directly at a star (or planet) and measure its angle above the local horizon. The Sun reaches the highest point above horizon at noon each day and this is all ancient astronomers needed to observe (the angle). It is worth mentioning here that the relative location of the Sun above the horizon is not constant from day to day when observed at the same clock time each day.
Since the Earth’s mean solar day is almost exactly 24 hours, an analemma can be traced by plotting the position of the Sun as viewed from a fixed position on Earth at the same clock time every day for an entire year. An analemma is basically the figure “8” loop that results when one observes the position of the sun at the same time during the day over the course of a year. Based on the above observations, we can see that it is not difficult to notice the basic movements of the Earth.
Two of them (daily and annual cycle) are  easily noticeable by anyone within a short period of observing (1 day for the rotation cycle and 1 year for the orbital  cycle). The 3rd cycle called precession (also known as Platonic Year ) would take longer to observe .
The easiest way to record spatial observations — other than by framing them against a prominent topographic features — was by erecting durable markers of their own in the landscape (including pyramids and temples)  to calibrate the rising or setting azimuths of the sun, moon, planets and stars.
In the central plaza of Zempoala, just beneath the massive pyramids that frame its northeastern corner, are three intriguing rings of stone, each fashioned of rounded beach cobbles cemented together to form a series of small, stepped pillars. With “Back Observation Quadrant”, the observer viewed the horizon from a sight vane (C in the figure on the right) through a slit in the horizon vane (B). Astrolabe was originally used by astronomers to find the position of the stars and planets. In the northern hemisphere, the shadow-casting edge is normally oriented so that it points north and is parallel to the rotation axis of the Earth. Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris, commonly called North(ern) Star, Pole Star, or  Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. As the result, ancient astronomers had to use other methods to precisely locate cardinal points (N, S, E, W). Once or twice each year, people who live at lower latitudes (within 23.5 degrees of the equator) can see the sun reach the zenith, an imaginary point directly overhead.


The celestial north pole was only aligned exactly with Kochab and Mizar in 2, 467 BC, which would put the beginning of building work about 70 years later than many archaeologists, have previously thought. The angular distance north or south of the earth’s equator, measured in degrees along a meridian, as on a map or globe is called “latitude”. Measuring latitude using the sun can only be done at noon, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The study of how people in the ancient past “have understood and used the phenomena in the sky, and what role the sky played in their cultures is called “archaeoastronomy”. In the “Ancient Timekeepers, Part 3: Archaeoastronomy” we are presenting ancient calendars and the evidence of  very good understanding by the ancient people of astronomical cycles of our planet.
Explore with us lost civilizations, ancient ruins, sacred writings, unexplained artifacts, science mysteries, "alternative theories", popular authors and experts, subject related books and resources on the Internet.
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Our planet wobbles slowly like a gyroscope in space spinning once per day while it “circles” the sun during its annual course. As a result of the earth’s tilt about its axis (23.5°) and its elliptical orbit about the sun, the location of the sun is not constant from day to day when observed at the same time on each day over a period of twelve months. Although it is 25,920 years cycle,  it can be noticed in just 36 years as the result of systematic observations of the night sky.  Precession is causing slow regression of the apparent position of the Sun relative to the backdrop of the stars at some seasonally fixed time, say the vernal equinox. The largest of the rings contains 43 of the stepped pillars, the middle- sized ring has 28 such features, and the smallest ring numbers 13 stepped pillars around its circumference. Position of various stars and planets are marked on the face of the astrolabe and by setting the moveable parts of the astrolabe to a specific dates and times, the entire sky, both visible and invisible, is represented on the face of the instrument. That is, it is inclined to the horizontal at an angle that equals the latitude of the sundial’s location. Today it is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star.
It consists of a tapered shaft of stone surmounted by a stone disk having the same diameter as the base of the shaft. Kate Spence, a British Egyptologist, believes she may have solved two of the great mysteries of archaeology – how the ancient Egyptians aligned the pyramid with such remarkable geographical accuracy and when the vast royal tomb was built. Angle of the sun above the horizon at noon on the day of equinox can give us geographic latitude of this location – example below: 90 – 60 = 30 deg.
Examples of such evidence can be found in surviving ancient writings (Mesoamerica, Egypt and India) and monuments.
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Despite of observing the sky from the “moving point of view”, ancient astronomers were able to discover and precisely describe basic astronomical cycles of our planet. Furthermore, this loop will be inclined at different angles depending on one’s geographical latitude.
It would appear that the three rings were used to calibrate different astronomical cycles, possibly by moving a marker or an idol from one stepped pillar to the next with each passing day (in somewhat the same way that has been suggested for recording the passage of time at the Pyramid of the Niches at El Tajin).
The observer moved the shadow vane (A) to a position on the graduated scale so as to cause its shadow to appear coincident with the level of the horizon on the horizon vane.
This is an extraordinary accuracy for what appears to be only two pieces of wood, a scale and a plumbline. Typical uses of the Astrolabe include finding the time during the day or night, finding the time of a celestial event such as sunrise or sunset and as a handy reference of celestial positions.
At present, such a gnomon should thus point almost precisely at Polaris, as this is within a degree of the North celestial pole.On some sundials, the gnomon is vertical. Over long periods of time (hundreds of years), precession of the Earth’s axis of rotation causes it to point to other regions of the sky, tracing out a circle over 25,900 years. The path the sun takes on these days—from sunrise through zenith, to sunset—is called the zenith passage. Places like Stonehenge, Pyramids of Egypt and Mesoamerica, have encoded in their location, orientation, shape and dimensions incredible understanding of astronomy. They created calendars to keep track of these cycles and to predict solar and lunar eclipses. One of the most interesting but obscure abilities of the Cross is its capability to take sidereal measurements.
These were usually used in former times for observing the altitude of the Sun, especially when on the meridian. Other stars along this circle would have served as the pole star in the past and will again in the future, including Beta Ursae Minoris , Thuban and Vega. The sides deviate from true north by less than three ark minutes, that’s less than a twentieth of a degree, which is extremely accurate in terms of orientation.  In the past the date of the ancient Egyptian pyramids has been a source of much debate among historians, who have put it at around the middle of the third millennium BC, by tracing the chronology of Kings.
Observing the sky also enabled the ancients to establish cardinal points and latitude for any place on Earth.
However, publishing her research in the scientific journal Nature, Dr Kate Spence says her theory gives a more precise date for the beginning of construction work on the Great Pyramid. For example, the upper west edge of the gnomon might be the style in the morning and the upper east edge might be the style in the afternoon.



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