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Monday, July 18, 2016

The prehistoric tombs may have been used as 'telescope'

An ancient tomb discovered in Portugal has surprised the scientists because it not only functioned for the cemetery but also telescope. Seven Stone Antas, thus the name of the ancient tomb which has been crowned as the world's oldest telescope, the first device that allows people to see stars without a lens.
The orientation of the tombs named Seven Stone Antas in Portugal suggests that they are aligned to offer a view of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cAgta)
The tomb of Neolithic era has a unique construction. Its "gate" consists of seven large rock debris that forms a long hallway. The hallway was able to block ambient light so as to allow the stone age "astronomers" to focus their view on specific areas of the sky.
The passageway’s long corridor acts like a telescope without a lens, says Dr Fabio Silva. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cAgta)
Fabio Silva, a scientist from the University of Wales Tronity Saint David, England, said the tomb was built with full planning. The tomb passageway’s long corridor is directed in a way that leads to the Aldebaran star, one of the brightest stars in the constellation of Taurus as seen from the Earth.
The researchers suggest that there may have been a ritual significance to viewing the night sky from the tombs. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cAgta)
"When the Aldebaran rising time each year is the end of April until the beginning of May at 6,000 years ago," Silva said as quoted by The Guardian on June 30, 2016. And the Aldebaran rising time coincides with the beginning of summer and a right time to farm. "That would be nice, right time marker for the population at that time to move to higher ground," he added.

Daniel Brown, an astronomer from the University of Nottingham Trent, England, said the residents of the past were being used to visit the tomb and overnight as part of the ritual and simultaneously observe the stars. And Brown also revealed that the tomb hall capable of creating a low-light environment that can not be obtained outside the tomb area.

"The hallways make some sort of camera viewfinder hole at an angle of 10 degrees. If someone observed with the naked eye, it was very limited," said Brown.

The present discovery also reveals a culture of ancient peoples related to cosmology as well as providing knowledge on how they interpret it.

"It gives the view that astronomy is a part of the experience of life, the environment, and the sky," added Brown, as quoted by LiveScience, June 30, 2016.

The findings were presented on June 29, 2016 in the annual meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in Nottingham, England. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LIVESCIENCE | THE GUARDIAN ]
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