For millennia people have watched the night sky and wondered what was up there. They thought of the night sky in a way that was relevant to their daily lives, struggling against the forces of nature, and told stories to explain what they saw. Many of these myths are still well known to us.
Over many centuries, patterns in the motions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars became markers for the time to plant, the time to harvest, and the time to hunt. It was the start of our long tradition for making calendars and it was the beginning of our oldest science, astronomy.
Going beyond the antiquity of the earliest astronomers is the sky itself. Light travels very fast, but the stars are very far away and their light left a very long time ago. The splendor of the night sky, the Oldest Show on Earth, has been going on for a very long time indeed.
The night sky is above us on every clear night, yet few of us are familiar with it. After thousands of years watching and admiring the stars, people have traded their comforting twinkle for the polluting glow of city lights. We now spend our precious time consumed by electronic gadgetry, just the latest technological gimmick to hit the shelves. Perhaps we should to take a break from these luxuries and reacquaint ourselves with something more deserving, noble, and grand.
Here at the Oldest Show on Earth, you will find information about the history and practice of astronomy as well as encouragement for your own participation in the observation and study of the night sky. There is also artwork, photography, and the occasional geological specimen to help in telling the story. We hope you come back and visit us often, here at the Oldest Show on Earth.
The Hunter, Oil on Canvas by Chad Quandt (2003)
The Moon, with Mars and Venus at dusk..
Pleiades rising over the Grant Grove of Sequoias, Kings Canyon National Park, CA.
Last Updated 7 February 2018.
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