From whence 360?

September 28, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Science, Space | 3 Comments

Where does the whole 360 degrees thing come from?

The question goes into not only how we divide space, but time as well. Its origins are somewhere in deep antiquity. When Vega was the north star long long ago (about 14,000 years), astrologer/astronomers divided the heavens into 28 constellations. Somewhere later, through precession, the skys shifted and the old divisions broke down. A new system of dividing the heavens into 12 constellations arose, each divided by 30 (12 x 30 = 360). We call this the Zodiac now. The 360 degree circle. You also see this in 12 months (with some odd days out) and 7 days of a week, named after the 7 “planets” then accepted. Sunday, Moonday, Marsday, and so on. Even the sequence of the days matches the eastern astrological sequence of planets – not in the sky but in the way their influence is said to cycle in time.

Its also in the 12 hours of day and of night and the time zones of the world. And the Longitudes (180 E and W) and Latitudes (90 N and S).

Western astrology made an error about 2,000 years ago when it fixed the constellations. Again due to precession, they are now almost an entire sign off. Its no wonder astronomy and astrology have drifted apart.

The short answer – its from ancient astrology/astronomy.

Why does the North star change?
explains the rotation:
http://ms.essortment.com/northstarastro_rmdz.htm

Has a little video with Vega & Polaris:
http://www.siennasoft.com/stargazer/1186.shtml

3 Comments »

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  1. […] of strange and foreign, much of our world-context is derived from this ancient set of sciences. Our number system, the way we divide space (360 degrees), the way we divide time (hours, days, etc), and […]

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  2. […] of strange and foreign, much of our world-context is derived from this ancient set of sciences. Our number system, the way we divide space (360 degrees), the way we divide time (hours, days, etc), and […]

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  3. Ran into a reference to the days of the week. In English some of the days are based on the Norse names for the “wanderers” – the planets/ gods.

    Tiw’s Day, Woten’s Day, Thor’s Day, Freya’s Day. They correspond to the same planets as in jyotish:
    Mars, Mercury, Jupiter & Venus.

    And interestingly, there is a geometric relationship to the sequence. If you place the ‘planets’ around a heptagon (7) in the order of speed and then draw a heptagram (star), you get the sequence of the days of the week.

    The planets of our solar system have all kinds of fascinating ratios of size and orbit to each other. Eclipses appear as they do, for example, because the moon is positioned at the point where it’s the same size to us as the sun. It orbits at the same speed as it’s rotation, so the same side is always facing us. And so forth.

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