General, Research, Technology

People began to be interested in space 100 thousand years ago. What did they know?

According to Australian scientists, people beganinterested in space about 100 thousand years ago. Interest in the starry sky arose long before the first representatives of the species Homo sapiens left Africa and spread throughout the rest of the world. The researchers came to this conclusion because many ancient writings tell the same legend about the Pleiades star cluster. It is relatively close to Earth, so six stars from this cluster can be seen with the naked eye, even in urban environments. Only in legends this cluster is called "Seven Sisters". The question arises - why seven, while only six objects are visible in the sky? This is a very interesting story, so let's take a closer look at it.

Of course, at first, people associated stars with legends.

Pleiades star cluster

A star cluster is a group of stars thatformed from one molecular cloud. A group can include several thousand stars. There are about 1,100 open clusters in our Milky Way galaxy. And the Pleiades cluster is located in the constellation Taurus. It also includes several thousand luminaries, but only six are visible with the naked eye. This cluster can be seen from almost anywhere on our planet, with the exception of Antarctica. It is best to observe these luminaries in November, because at this time they are visible throughout the night.

The stars of the Pleiades are located on the top right

Some astronomers believe that the clusterThe Pleiades includes about 3000 stars. However, at the moment, scientists have officially discovered only 1200 of them. This is due to the fact that most stars are very faint and the telescopes existing today simply cannot detect them. One of them may be faintly luminous brown dwarfs - according to scientists, they make up as much as 25% of the star cluster. The Pleiades cluster is estimated to be 115 million years old, making it 50 times younger than the Sun.

Legends of the Pleiades

In ancient Greece, it was believed that the Pleiades areseven daughters of the titan Atlas, who holds the firmament on his shoulders. According to legend, the lustful Orion hunted them, so the girls turned into stars and hid in the sky. But one of them fell in love with an ordinary person and was forced to leave the sky. It turns out that initially there were seven stars in the group, but over time, people began to see only six. Because one of the girls, as mentioned above, left her sisters and returned to earth.

You need a telescope to see all the stars of the Pleiades

The legend of the Pleiades cluster sounds about the same.and among other nations. The indigenous people of Australia also said that a company of girls was visible in the sky, and next to them was a man blazing with passion, that is, the hunter Orion. And even their legend says that initially there were seven girls, and then there were six of them. The ancient peoples of Europe, Africa and other countries had similar stories. The question arises - how were groups of people living in completely different parts of the Earth able to compose the same stories? Indeed, in those days, no means of communication at a distance existed.

See also: What will space exploration be in 2069?

History of space exploration

In search of an answer to this question, scientiststried to recreate what the starry sky looked like 100 thousand years ago. It turned out that at that time the stars of the Pleiades and the Atlas were located a little further from each other. Therefore, ancient people saw seven stars in the cluster. Over time, they got so close to each other that people began to see only six stars in the cluster. Based on this, Australian scientists suggested that the legends of the Pleiades cluster were invented hundreds of thousands of years ago, at a time when the first representatives of the species Homo sapiens had not yet left Africa. But then they began to spread across the planet, along with their legend. True, the part about the disappeared girl appeared only when the two stars became too close.

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The fact that the galaxy cluster is known to people verylong ago, there is no particular doubt. The fact is that the drawing depicting him was discovered in the Lascaux cave, which is located in France. There are many cave paintings that were created by cavemen. According to scientists, they were drawn 15-18 thousand years ago. But this does not mean that people began to be interested in space at this time. It must have happened even earlier, just the rock paintings were created much later than this important event.

Drawings on the walls of the Lascaux cave

It turns out that space began to interest people invery old times. Over time, telescopes and other instruments appeared, which further expanded humanity's understanding of the universe. And all this led to the fact that we are finally convinced that the Earth has a round shape. In the second half of the 20th century, people flew into space for the first time, and at the moment we are already planning to move to other planets. Mars seems to be the most suitable for this. However, the manned flight to this planet will have to be postponed. And that's why.

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