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  Webfooted Astronomer

September 2001

Ancient Astronomical Practices

By George Best
September Meeting

James Evans
University of Puget Sound
Wednesday, September 19
7:30 p.m.

A-102 Physics-Astronomy Bldg.
University of Washington

Come early at 7 p.m. to visit with your fellow members.

Bring your slides for after the program.

JAMES Evans, professor, historian and astronomer at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, will speak at the September 19 SAS meeting about ancient astronomy.

In his book, "The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy," Evans says that when you learn to do astronomy the old-fashioned way, you gain a profoundly deeper understanding of what the ancients thought and did. "There is all the difference in the world between knowing about and knowing how to do," says Evans.

The ancient astronomical tradition is one of impressive duration and richness—from planet observations by the Babylonians in the second millennium BC to the astronomical revolution of the sixteenth century to the superb navigation of the Polynesians. Evans asks two questions: What evidence permits us to reconstruct the astronomy of the ancient past? How was astronomy actually practiced?

Before the speaker, Loren Busch will give a 15-minute presentation on the Astronomical League's programs for Messier and other certifications. Congratulations to Steve Kulseth who received his Messier Certificate and pin from the Astronomical League at last month's meeting. Steve received an Honorary Certificate for observing all 110 objects.

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