Archaeoastronomy in Practice: Methods and Techniques used in Archaeoastronomy
Title of Abstract
The Phenomena of Celestial Motion - Visualising Spherical Geometry
Daniel Brown
Nottingham Trent University
Summary (maximum 250 words)
The motions of celestial bodies in the sky are a key aspect that defines the skyscape experience. Their rhythms of motion and visibility create regions of influence and power both above, one the horizon and on the ground. The peoples past and present have used these temporal and spatial cycles to ground both monuments and narratives that shape their beliefs and culture.
Working in the field of archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy requires a deeper understanding and intuition of spherical geometry and celestial coordinate systems which has been removed in modern astrophysical curriculum at university level. Graphical conversions between coordinate systems has given way to computer algorithms removing the researcher from the simplicity and experience of the cyclic motion of stars. Many key concepts and phenomena are now thought to be only of relevance to amateur astronomers.
This talk will outline relations between azimuthal and equatorial coordinate systems in parts using only a protractor and ruler. It will discuss concepts such as circumpolar and curtailed passage of stars. Furthermore, the seasonal motion of the Sun and the resulting shadow patterns will be presented. After having set the scene, a hands on workshop will allow to explore the experience of such rhythms and patterns visualised through celestial bodies in the sky and local horizon. Participants will then be able to experience how stars, planets, Sun and Moon can form a powerful narrative shaping the skyscape experience.


Session Time
09:00 - 10:30
Talk start