As Above So Below Astrology Astronomical Myths

Astronomical Myths

Astronomical Myths
Catalog # SKU3594
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name John F. Blake
ISBN 10: 1610338227
ISBN 13: 9781610338226


Astronomical Myths

Based On Flammarion's
"History of the Heavens."

John F. Blake

Astronomy is an ancient science; and though of late it has made a fresh start in new regions, and we are opening on the era of fresh and unlooked-for discoveries which will soon reveal our present ignorance, our advance upon primitive ideas has been so great that it is difficult for us to realize what they were without an attentive and not uninstructive study of them.

Larger Print, 15 point font



No other science, not even geology, can compare with astronomy for the complete revolution which it has effected in popular notions, or for the change it has brought about in men's estimate of their place in creation. It is probable that there will always be men who believe that the whole universe was made for their benefit; but, however this may be, we have already learned from astronomy that our habitation is not that central spot men once deemed it, but only an ordinary planet circulating round an ordinary star, just as we are likely also to learn from biology, that we occupy the position, as animals, of an ordinary family in an ordinary class.

That we may more perfectly realize this strange revolution of ideas, we must throw ourselves as far as possible into the feeling and spirit of our ancestors, when, without the knowledge we now possess, they contemplated, as they could not fail to do, the marvellous and awe-inspiring phenomena of the heavens by night. To them, for many an age, the sun and moon and stars, with all the planets, seemed absolutely to rise, to shine, and to set; the constellations to burst out by night in the east, and travel slowly and in silence to the west; the ocean waves to rise and fall and beat against the rock-bound shore as if endowed with life; and even in the infancy of the intellect they must have longed to pierce the secrets of this mysterious heavenly vault, and to know the nature of the starry firmament as it seemed to them, and the condition of the earth which appeared in the centre of these universal movements.

The simplest hypothesis was for them the truth, and they believed that the sky was in reality a lofty and extended canopy bestudded with stars, and the earth a vast plain, the solid basis of the universe, on which dwelt man, sole creature that lifted his eyes and thoughts above. Two distinct regions thus appeared to compose the whole system-the upper one, or the air, in which were the moving stars, the lights of heaven, and the firmament over all; and the lower one, or earth and sea, adorned on the surface with the products of life, and below with the minerals, metals, and stones. For a long time the various theories of the universe, grotesque and changing as they might be, were but modifications of this one central idea, the earth below, the heavens above, and on this was based every religious system that was promulgated-the very phrases founded upon it remaining to this day for a testimony to the intimate relation thus manifested between the infant ideas in astronomy and theology. No wonder that early revolutions in the conceptions in one science were thought to militate against the other. It is only when the thoughts on both are enlarged that it is seen that their connection is not necessary, but accidental, or, at least, inevitable only in the infancy of both.

It is scarcely possible to estimate fully the enormous change from these ideas representing the appearances to those which now represent the reality; or to picture to ourselves the total revolution in men's minds before they could transform the picture of a vast terrestrial surface, to which the sun and all the heavenly bodies were but accessories for various purposes, to one in which the earth is but a planet like Mars, moving in appearance among the stars, as it does, and rotating with a rapidity that brings a whole hemisphere of the heavens into view through the course of a single day and night. At first sight, what a loss of dignity! but, on closer thought, what a gain of grandeur! No longer some little neighbouring lights shine down upon us from a solid vault; but we find ourselves launched into the sea of infinity; with power to gaze into its almost immeasurable depths.

To appreciate rightly our position, we have to plant ourselves, in imagination, in some spot removed from the surface of the earth, where we may be uninfluenced by her motion, and picture to ourselves what we should see.

496 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover
ISBN-10 1610338227
ISBN-13 9781610338226

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