For those of us who have sight, much of what we imagine begins with observation. The Native Americans, shepherds, Bedouins, and seafarers would have learned to read the stars for time and direction a long time ago. Looking for the more “first principles” experience with direct observation, I headed out in the evening to the observatory at Brazos Bend State Park. It was the early evening sky, and I saw some interesting portraits of the fine details of the moon through binoculars,
the M13 cluster through a refracting telescope that someone had set up, the Big Dipper, Arcturus, Spika, Vega, Lyra, Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Venus and Saturn, and the Hubble Telescope as it moved through the sky. Although Leo was out, I failed to recognize it.
Spent a little bit of time working my way up to a 20 on this quiz.
One hears about Copernicus and Galileo, and I have long known that much of the systematization and distribution of knowledge about stars came from the Islamic expansion prior to the work of these astronomers. This explains why many star names are Arabic. There is a verse in the Qu’ran that I find beautiful:
I’ve read some of the controversy regarding the specific interpretation of the words. Since it is a short line, I thought I would try to deconstruct the letters, and try to actually read and write it. I found a site that presents a little more about vowels in Arabic. It explains the tanween, or how to make an n sound at the end of a word.