There are many ways to time-travel. If you think Christopher Nolan’s preferred way of escaping through a wormhole in Interstellar is not your cup of tea, then here’s another easier, less risky way to transport yourself back in time. Thanks to the Chalmers Aerospace Club, now I know another modes of time transportation. After registering myself as a member of the Chalmers Aerospace Club,after an adhoc plan with a friend I attended first of their events today – a fascinating hour long talk on ”An astronomical view of monument orientations in the ancient Egypt”. The talk was followed by screening of a movie – Stargate, and two episodes of the same TV show. Quite a gratifying distraction away from my routine, I must admit.
I learned about a new domain of research, called ”Archaeoastronomy”. This is a perfect confluence of Astronomy, Archaelogy and Anthropology! In this domain, researchers study ancient monuments in relation to their perceived astronomy (or Astrology) thousands of years ago, to draw conclusions about their history, culture and even as a means to date the civilizations. While on the outset it might seem dubious, underlying to this study is the rationale that the earth’s axis undergoes a small change over time, because of the gravitational fields of Sun and Moon – this is called Axial Precession. This causes Earth’s tilt to alter, infinitesimally continuously, but in a tangible manner over centuries. When a civilization has tried building a monument, or an observatory to coincide with say a star’s rise, by observing the offset in that position today, we can approximate the time when the monument was built. This can be corroborated by studying the cultures of those civilizations, to see the relevance of that heavenly body in their culture. About the time travel – if you can figure out the expected position of say the star Sirius is offset by a certain few degrees in azimuth, we can use a Free Software tool like the awesome Stellarium, to look at the skies that our ancestors had seen! We would be looking at the sky, they were looking at and designed their culture around! It makes me feel connected 🙂 Now that I am a member of the Aerospace Club, have already signed up for a star watching evening with Christmas special event Julbord 🙂