Ancient Chinese Astronomy
The stars indicated balance...
The history of ancient Chinese astronomy is longer than any other civilization's, with records dating back to more than 4000 years ago. Unlike most other cultures, Chinese astronomers would catalog every single star they saw in the sky, which is a very useful resource even today.
Myths & Legends
As with most cultures, the universe was not always understood as well as it is now, and many myths were created by ancient Chinese astronomers for what they could not explain. For example, a solar eclipse was believed to be a dragon trying to consume the sun, and was also a sign that life was "off balance."
Not only would the Chinese document all of the stars they saw in the sky, but all other astronomical sightings were recorded as well. In the year 1054 AD, astronomers took note of a "guest star" in the sky, which is now confirmed to be the supernova that formed the famous Crab Nebula.
Connecting the Dots
Figures in the sky, or constellations, were also a part of ancient Chinese astronomy, but these were called "Palaces." The brightest star was considered the emperor of the palace and surrounding stars in the group were princes and princesses.
Several calendars were created throughout history in China. One of these calendars is based on Jupiter's twelve-year orbit around the sun. Each year of Jupiter's journey is associated with an animal, such as the Rat, Monkey, Dragon, etc. This calendar is still popular today and can even be found in most Chinese restaurants.
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