Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Number of the Sun (Part 3)

How to draw a Geocentric Universe: (Make your own Heavens' Hinge, Part 3)
This exercise shows how to discover what "the Universe" might have meant for neolithic peoples, particularly in Southern England. It also teaches the concept of solar planes so may be suitable as a curriculum extra. 
The exercise:
In parts 1 and 2, we drew a Geocentric Universe as it might have been seen by neolithic peoples. That drawing proved to be identical to Stonehenge's external layout of stones. In part 3, we'll use observation to try to record special features of solar movement about the polar axis. This drawing will end up being identical to Stonehenge's arrangement of outer sarsen stones in addition to matching up with all the external stone layouts. You do not need to be at the same latitude as Southern England for this part to work. 
Equipment needed:
a) The stone layout generated by the experiment of Part 2
b) Two straight sticks approximately 5 feet long (as Part 2)
c) An inexpensive wood clamp (as Part 2: not strictly necessary but useful)
d) A set of checkers (draughts)
e) Spray paint or chalk 
a) Preferably done near the equinox (but not essential).
b) Make sure you've done exercise one  and exercise two first (and explained where the North Star is and what it is)
) This Session can be done at any time; it takes about an hour
The method:
From the earlier experiments, the students will have noticed that the Heavens will revolve around them and they will have drawn the polar axis and the sun's movement. We are going to continue to draw that world exactly as the students would see it, and the students will see themselves as standing at the top of a circle (representing the World).

This was the part 2 drawing of the Universe drawn in stone:

If you are drawing at a latitude of 51° , The North Pole is about 39° (90°–39°) anticlockwise from where you are standing. From the Long Man experiment, the students will have checked this.

We'll spray the lower stones (which represent the position of the sun at night) in paint or chalk and then add a dark and a light checker at the mid-way points to represent the celestial equator:

Then put half-way markers, of the opposite colour shade, between each solstice and equinox marker:

We'll now use our two sticks to measure the difference in angle between the summer solstice and equinox: This was 24° in 2500BC but, due to the Earth's orbital movement, this angle has now changed to 23.5°. It's worth checking that the angle you have really is 24° before continuing:

With the line of the sticks, re-centre the inner ring so that each of its stones are directly under the rods (and the half-way stone exactly half way between). Then rotate the sticks over, place two more checkers and re-centre the inner ring so that the stones are under the rod:

If we carry on, (each time rolling over the sticks, placing a checker and putting in another checker between the two sticks), the pattern fits exactly: The movement of the sun (48° in total) fits into 4 parts of a 30 part circle; each part being 12° (a total of 360°)

The line which represents the North Pole (or the South Pole) is exactly half way between two checkers (and two of the centre stones). In 2400BC, 30 stones could accurately describe the Sun's movement and the axis of the heavens:

Your inner stone drawing is now exactly the same as Stonehenge's inner stone layout

The spacing between the outer Sarcen ring stones is equivalent to 30 equally spaced stones and the polar axis passes straight between two of the stones. The diagram below is with fallen, missing, or purposefully unintended stones:

Images above modified from works by Anthony Johnson, Solving Stonehenge.

Post experiment discussion:
  • The drawing of the Earth is a circle. Stonehenge is arranged as a circle.
  • The drawing of the celestial axis, a line projected from Earth to the pole star, matches the alignment of Stonehenge
  • The heavens can be described using 30 Stones. Stonehenge has the spacing of 30 stones
  • The celestial axis passes between stones marked 1 and the stone marked 30 at Stonehenge
  • The drawing of the summer solstice solar plane is in the same alignment as two Stones at Stonehenge (6 and 25)
  • The drawing of the winter solstice solar plane is in the same alignment as two other stones at Stonehenge (10 and 21).
  • The drawing of the equinox solar plane is in the same alignment as two more stones at Stonehenge (8 and 24).

"Every time you get to five, count that five off using one finger on the right hand and close the left. When your hands are fully open, you have counted to thirty." From The Broken Stone and the secret of the Heavens' Henge.

From the earlier experiment, we saw that the Heavens appear to revolve around us. We have drawn that world exactly as it is seen: The experimenters will have seen themselves as standing at the top of a circle (representing the World).

(If you are looking towards the east, the top of your drawing will be to the east and the bottom will be to the west. If you were to draw yourself, you would be a small dot on the top of the circle. The rest of the universe is described from this 2-D arrangement.)

  • The equatorial line will be X° clockwise from where you are standing, (“X” is your latitude).
  • The North Pole will be (90°-X°) anticlockwise from where you are standing. This can be located on the circle of the world now drawn on the ground. (This is why our drawing looks from the east. If you were drawing it with north at the top, you wouldn't be able to draw the angle of celestial rotation.)
  • The celestial polar axis will be a line, (90°-X°) anticlockwise, drawn from the North Pole to the North Star.
  • Lines representing solar planes could be drawn at an angle of X° clockwise.
  • The solar plane varies, between summer and winter, by about +/-24° due to the obliquity of our planet's orbit. However, on a fixed world, all you can draw is the 24°; you may not know that our planet is spinning.
  • The sun's movement can be shown to move in 4 opposing parts of 30
  • The North and South poles can be shown to be half-way between two parts of the ring of 30 markers.

The entire layout of Stonehenge appears to represent an accurate and detailed description of a worldview where our planet is at the centre.
The monument of Stonehenge also happens to precisely coincide with an ideal substructure of a system which helps to show that our planet is at the centre.

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