Ritaroberts's Blog

The ancient   Babylonians could predict the passage of Jupiter  through the night sky, which they recorded on cuneiform  tablets – more than 14 centuries before such techniques  were seen  in Europe.

The discovery was made by Mathieu Ossendrijver of  Humboldt  University in Berlin , who studied five cuneiform tablets that date back to  between 350 and 50 BC, recovered during  19th century excavations near the main temple Esagila in Babylon, and now held by the British Museum in London.

The tablets record calculations for the time and velocity of the planet’s journey over 60 days. Four describe an area covered over a certain period of time as a trapezoid, but the figures could not be connected to a named planet. However, when  Ossendrijver examined the fifth, previously unstudied, tablet he noticed it specifically mentions Jupiter and that the figures matched those on the other four tablets.

Though contemporary, Greeks and Egyptians had mastered astronomy…

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