Let There Be Light
Building an Artificial Star

Let There Be Light - Building an Artificial Star
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The Star of Bethlehem
For centuries, astronomers have struggled to find an explanation for the Star of Bethlehem, recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. Professor Schaefer focuses on a recent theory that has taken scientists and biblical scholars by surprise, due to its success at solving problems that plagued all previous proposals.
Star Catalogs from around the World
The genius of Greek astronomy is epitomized by the star catalogs of Hipparchus and Ptolemy. Professor Schaefer recounts his exciting discovery of a star chart apparently influenced by Hipparchus's lost catalog. Close by comparing Greek star catalogs with those of China and the Arab world.
Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?
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The asteroid that exploded over Siberia--injuring more than 1,000 and damaging buildings in six cities--was a shocking reminder that Earth is a target in a cosmic shooting range. From the width of a football field to the size of a small city, these space rocks have the potential to be…
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The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy
Taught by Professor Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University, this course shows how ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, Chinese, and other cultures saw the sky. You learn how the Sun, Moon, and stars were their clock, calendar, and compass; constellations encoded their mythologies; and the heavens inspired religious and philosophical ideas,…
Stonehenge and Archaeoastronomy
Why were the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars so important to ancient people? Investigate key astronomical directions noticed by all cultures. Then embark on your study of Stonehenge, seeing how it gave birth to the field of archaeoastronomy and to some very curious modern theories.
The Real Stonehenge
In the popular mind, Stonehenge was built as a sophisticated astronomical calculator presided over by priestly astronomers called Druids. But is this view dating from the mid-1960s correct? Address the evidence, and survey the archaeological record to discover the most probable function of Stonehenge.
Alignments at Maes Howe and Newgrange
Explore Neolithic tombs and monuments across Europe, discovering an array of alignments toward astronomical events. Start with two sites that are similar to Stonehenge in their clear orientation to the winter solstice: Maes Howe in the Orkney Islands, and Newgrange in Ireland.
Astronomy of Egypt's Great Pyramid
Study the astronomical significance of Egypt's Great Pyramid. How did its builders achieve such phenomenal accuracy in the pyramid's alignment to the cardinal directions? Were its air shafts intended to point at stars of special importance? Also evaluate modern claims for the mystical power of pyramids.