Episodes

  1. Episode 39: The Guest Stars

    We turn to the ways that the Chinese Emperor's astronomers predicted and interpreted eclipses, as well as the so-call...

  2. Episode 38: The Organization of Heaven & Earth

    This month we turn to the astronomy of China in the early Imperial Era. We look at the way that the Emperor's astrono...

  3. Episode 37: The Mandate of Heaven

    We start to explore the relationship between the heavens and the Earth in Ancient China, along with the role of astro...

  4. Episode 36: Aryabhata & the Siddhantas

    In our final episode on ancient Indian astronomy, we tour the five astronomical Siddhantas, and then meet some of the...

  5. Episode 35: The Vedanga Jyotisha & Beyond

    We delve into the contents of the Vedanga Jyotisha, the earliest Indian text to deal explicitly with astronomy. Then ...

  6. Episode 34: What Happened in Harappa

    India developed one of the most advanced astronomies of any of the ancient cultures, even rivaling European astronomy...

  7. Episode 33: How the Moon Became Blue

    We take a break from the main narrative in honor of this month's blue moon and turn to a somewhat more frivolous topi...

  8. Episode 32: All Along the Watchers of the Hour

    This month we tour the astronomers of ancient Egypt from the Old Kingdom to the last native Pharaoh of Egypt just pri...

  9. Episode 31: We Need to Talk About Khufu

    Before getting back into Egyptian astronomy proper, we start by looking at Nabta Playa, a site of megalithic activity...

  10. Episode 30: Egypt in a Nut-Shell

    We turn to ancient Egypt, one of the oldest and most beguiling of the ancient civilizations. Egypt is particularly no...

  11. Episode 29: The Astronomy of Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa

    The oldest plausible astronomical artifacts known are African, as are many of the oldest megaliths, around 10,000 of ...

  12. Episode 28: The Stars in Stone

    We turn the clock back to the astronomy of the Paleolithic and Neolithic. Clues about humanity's interest in the hea...

  13. Episode 27: Astronomica

    In this episode we examine the work of two Roman astrologers to see how Roman astrology worked in practice: Marcus Ma...

  14. Episode 26: Matters of Life & Death in Roman Astrology

    As Rome expanded to the East, the cultural influence of the Greeks deepened, and this included a strong interest in a...

  15. Episode 25: The Stars of Bethlehem

    This month the full moon falls on Three Kings' Day, traditionally a day that celebrates the adoration of the magi, so...

  16. Episode 24: Etruscan & Roman Astronomy

    Rome, the great empire of the Mediterranean, is not known for its astronomy. But while it lagged behind other civiliz...

  17. Episode 23: The Culmination of Ancient Greek Astronomy

    During the half millennium of the Roman Era in Ancient Greece, only two astronomers made any major advances. At the b...

  18. Episode 22: The Antikythera Mechanism & Friends

    In the year 1900 a team of sea sponge divers stumbled upon a shipwreck from the late Hellenistic Era. Among the statu...

  19. Episode 21: Hipparchus the GOAT

    After briefly examining the astronomy of Timocharis and Aristyllus, who developed the first known stellar catalog, we...

  20. Episode 20: The Theory of Epicycles & Deferents

    In the Hellenistic Era the astronomer Apollonius of Perga (maybe) developed the model of epicycles and deferents that...

  21. Episode 19: The Forerunners of Copernicus

    At the dawn of the Hellenistic Age, two Greek astronomers developed radical new cosmologies. Heraclides of Pontica pr...

  22. Episode 18: Aristotle, Plato's Other Student

    Two of Plato's students were notable astronomers. We looked at one of them, Eudoxus, in the last two episodes. In thi...

  23. Episode 17: The Attic Calendar and its Discontents

    We turn back the clock and see how a variety of Greek astronomers over the centuries contributed to the Greek calenda...

  24. Episode 16: The Homocentric Spheres of Eudoxus

    In working on the problem of doubling the cube, Plato's friend Archytas devised an ingenious solution that involved a...

  25. Episode 15: On Plato's Broad Shoulders

    Before leaving the world of the Pre-Socratics, we look briefly at the astronomy of Oenopides, which had a more observ...

  26. Episode 14: The Atomic Philosophers

    Two philosophers, Leucippus and Democritus, attempted to synthesize the monist theories of the earlier natural philos...

  27. Episode 13: Ex Uno, Plura

    As we transition from the Archaic Period of Greece to the Classical Period, two philosophers, Empedocles and Anaxagor...

  28. Episode 12: The Eleatic School & the Way of Truthiness

    After the Median invasion, the Ionian philosopher Xenophanes, a student of the Anaximander, was forced to flee to Ele...

  29. Episode 11: The So-Called Pythagoreans

    We turn to the enigmatic, charismatic philosopher Pythagoras and the following that he inspired. Though Pythagoras is...

  30. Episode 10: The Ionian School

    Miletus became a wealthy Greek city during the Archaic Period and developed a thriving intellectual culture which inc...

  31. Episode 9: Thales, through a Glass Darkly

    Thales was the first of the Greek astronomers and became known as one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Over the centurie...

  32. Episode 8: The Bards Sing of the Skies

    We outline the early development of Greek civilization after the Late Bronze Age Collapse and how the unique geograph...

  33. Episode 7: Greek Tales of Ancient Nights & Days

    As we start to examine the astronomy of Ancient Greece we hear of the myth cycles of Theseus and Perseus, episodes fr...

  34. Episode 6: System of a B

    We dive into the most sophisticated model of planetary and lunar motions that the Babylonians developed: System A and...

  35. Episode 5: A System of Weights & Measures

    We look at how the Babylonians represented information in their astronomical tablets by examining their number system...

  36. Episode 4: The Astronomical Diaries

    We step back and look at Babylon's broader political history and see how Babylonian astronomy changes during the rise...

  37. Episode 3: When the Moon Disappears

    We look at how the Babylonians associated the heavens with their gods and how Mesopotamian astrology developed after ...

  38. Episode 2: The Stars over Babylon

    What are the earliest records of constellations? How did the ancient Babylonians keep track of their progress through...

  39. Episode 1: The Heavens & History

    How should we approach the history of astronomy? How have the questions that astronomers have asked changed through ...