A Conversation for What's the Point of Astronomy?

Astronomy and Astrology...

Post 1


Astronomy and astrology only diverged with the Renaissance and until that time were merely calender science. As a matter of fact, the job Copernicus had as deacon of his church was principally to fix the dates of Easter and the other holy days.

'Auspicious' days were once predicated on considerations as practical as the interest of a mariner in tides, when best to plant, when to harvest, when to marry, when to breed sheep and cattle against the seasonal dependent agricultural economy of the time.

Somewhat similarly people today in the light of hindsight wonder why someone like Newton should have interested himself alchemy, forgetting that there was no 'science' in the modern sense yet and alchemy was cutting edge technology for the time. Despite lurid tales of charlatans claiming to transmute base metals into gold, the greater part of traditional alchemy depends on quality glass making, and it was this I think that initially stimulated Newton's interest since he needed quality glass to pursue his optical experiments.

Newton may never have succeeded in putting chemistry on as sound a quantitative footing as did astrophysics, but some of his students and their students eventually did.

Astronomy and Astrology...

Post 2

The H2G2 Editors

Very interesting, very well-articulated. Thank you for adding this addendum. smiley - ok

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Astronomy and Astrology...

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