Science Past from the issue of June 16, 1962 | Science News



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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of June 16, 1962

11:52am, June 1, 2012

COMPUTER CALCULATES B.C. POSITIONS OF PLANETS — The positions of the planets, the moon and the sun from 601 B.C. to 1 A.D. have been calculated using an electronic “brain,” or computer. The astronomical tables are expected to provide scholars with new insight in the study of ancient civilizations…. Dr. O. Neugebauer of Brown University, Providence, R.I., has worked with astronomical predictions from the pre-Christian era. Even before publication, the tables were used in dating and piecing together fragments of Babylonian clay tablets containing ancient astronomical records. The analysis and computer programs for constructing the planetary, lunar and solar positions were based on modern mathematical theories describing the motions of the planets, together with improvements based on ancient observations.

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