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parallaxicality
2007-Sep-15, 07:26 PM
In particular, I was wondering when and where the earliest recorded observation of a planet (as a planet, rather than as a star) was made. Does anyone know where I might look? Thanks.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-17, 03:01 PM
In particular, I was wondering when and where the earliest recorded observation of a planet (as a planet, rather than as a star) was made. Does anyone know where I might look? Thanks.
I just got done with Gerald Hawkins' Beyond Stonehenge (http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Stonehenge-Gerald-S-Hawkins/dp/0060117869). It's a good, popularly written survey of ancient astronomical observatories found all over the world by one of the first archaeastronomers. It's mostly concerned with observations of the Sun and Moon, however. I'm not aware of any preliterate artifacts that could be interpreted as showing an awareness of the moving planets.

Swift
2007-Sep-17, 11:55 PM
I agree with Warren about Hawkin's book, it is excellent.

I also agree that you will probably not find a explicit reference to the earliest observation of a planet as a planet. As far as I know, all ancient civilizations distinguished between the "fixed" stars and the bodies in the heavens that moved differently - the sun, the moon, and the historicial planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

StupendousMan
2007-Sep-18, 12:07 PM
In particular, I was wondering when and where the earliest recorded observation of a planet (as a planet, rather than as a star) was made. Does anyone know where I might look? Thanks.

One good place to start is "The exact sciences in antiquity". See

http://books.google.com/books?id=JVhTtVA2zr8C&dq=&pg=PP1&ots=l0sq9U2Bwu&sig=amkhq9cz0z7A6-p2nHUgqG1y4LM&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Dthe%2Bexact%2Bsciences%2Bin%2Bantiqui ty%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26aq%3Dt%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title

or

http://www.amazon.com/Exact-Sciences-Antiquity-O-Neugebauer/dp/0486223329

Jens
2007-Sep-19, 07:59 AM
In particular, I was wondering when and where the earliest recorded observation of a planet (as a planet, rather than as a star) was made. Does anyone know where I might look? Thanks.

As has been pointed out, it's likely that the question revolves around the term "recorded" here. Because ancient people were clearly aware of the fact that there were moving stars. It isn't hard to imagine, because the skies were of course much clearer back then, and people often didn't have lights, so once the sun went down the herders probably had frequent opportunities to gaze up at the night sky, and things were undoubtedly more familiar to them than to us. So looking up night after night, they would have realized that Jupiter and Mars, at the very least, move around the background of stars, just like the moon.

BTW, the days of the week orginally were named after the seven non-fixed stars that ancient people knew of (including the sun and moon, of course). Monday is named for the moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, Saturday for Saturn, and of course, Sunday for the sun.

yuzuha
2007-Sep-19, 10:48 AM
Here is an interesting bit on ancient Chinese and Japanese astronomy http://www2.gol.com/users/stever/jastro.html#Astro%20Lore The differences in the constellations and the star charts they found on the walls in the kofuns is quite interesting.

KaiYeves
2007-Sep-22, 12:16 AM
There's a good section at the back of The Secret Language of the Stars and Planets. (I know, it sounds woo-woo, but it's not.)

Giorgis
2007-Sep-22, 11:22 AM
Check out a book called

"Greek science of the Hellenistic era"

A great book, Astronomy is a subset (chapter 3), but it will put it all in the context.

Giorgis