It seems Babylonians used geometry to track planets, as a new study has recently revealed. What is even more astonishing is that the inhabitants of the stunning Babylon did plot the course of Jupiter long before the astronomers in the Middle Ages.
Both historians and archaeologists believed that the astronomical calculus was invented by a group of Oxford scholars in the 14th century. However, the method for calculating the planets’ trajectory has an entirely different origin, even though it does involve velocity and time. The fact that the astronomical calculus was created in Babylon sometime between 350 BC and 50 BC is proven by the Babylonians’ clay tablets that referred to something named the ‘’White Star’’.
The study was conducted by University of Berlin astrophysicist Mathieu Ossendrijver. Ossendrijver’s interest in the matter was piqued when he saw some pictures of a couple of clay tablets from a retired archeologist specialized in Assyriology. The tablets were quite small, of two by two inches. However, they all had one thing in common: the ‘’White Star’’.
After performing research on the tablets, Ossendrijver and his team of scientists discovered with amazement that this ‘’White Star’’ was none other than the planet Jupiter. It seems the tablets were actually guidelines for calculating the position of the planet on the sky. The Babylonians were using a graphic in the form of a trapezoid. None of the tablets referred explicitly to Jupiter, but the scientists deducted that this is what the ‘’White Star’’ was in truth.
Historians were astonished to find out the news, and are determined to change science’s chronology. This is the proof they need to show that that geometrical calculus was invented 1,400 years ago by the mysterious Babylonians, and not during the 14th century.
In more details, the ancient Babylonians were the first people in history to attempt and succeed at calculating a planet’s position in the sky by taking a look at its velocity and the time it needs to cross the sky from one end to the other. The graphic result of this process was the trapezoid form.
As we have just received proof that Babylonians used geometry to track planets, we can also start questioning other historical ”firsts’’. In the end, we only know who was the first person or the first civilization to discover something based on certain old accounts. However, there may be others that were not documented on and in this case we can never be sure of the ultimate truth.
Image Source: Grepolis Wiki