History of Astronomy (HET607)

The Dusty Veil

Step outside on any clear, dark night and you can clearly see the bright band that we call the Milky Way or the Galaxy. The hazy band and apparent concentration of stars in its general direction did not go unnoticed in the ancient world, with the 'celestial path appearing in many myths. However, our knowledge of the nature of the Milky Way, its size, and structure are far more recent understandings. These understandings have evolved over approximately 500 years. Early galactic models were, unbeknown to their authors, severely limited by the seemingly insignificant factor of dust between the stars. This essay discusses the history of our understanding and the role dust played.
The Dusty Veil Essay PDF


There is a plethora of calendars that are currently in use and an even larger number that are no longer in use. For the most part calendars have derived from astronomical events and have evolved over time, through trial and error, to align themselves with astronomical observation. Perhaps the most common alignment is between a calendar and the seasons falling within each year. This paper addresses the difficulties inherent in trying to align a calendar of days with the solar year and the ways that this problem has been addressed through history.
Calendars Project PDF