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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Eyewitness Muse- Ptolemy Told Me

Before TiVo, folks used to sit around and stare at the sky. And they discovered something that may come as news to habitues of American Idol and the O?Reilly Factor: there are stars and stuff up there.
The ancients not only observed the stuff in the sky, they were intrigued by the fact it moved around. Since they thought that the Earth was flat and stationary, the notion that it was round and hurtling through space was unthinkable. Therefore, they reasoned, those heavenly bodies were doing the boogaloo up there for their entertainment.
To prevent some genius from coming along and suggesting that the stars and stuff appeared in different parts of the sky at different times because both the Earth and the celestial objects were in motion, a theory was needed. Enter Claudius Ptolemy.


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