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This online lecture and study guide presents evidence of the interest of ancient civilizations in astronomy. It first summarizes the apparent motions of the planets on the sky. Next, the ways early societies made and recorded observations of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars are described. The Mayans are used as an example of how great accomplishments in astronomy helped shape a society's behavior. The material also includes information about the difficulties in interpreting ancient astronomical observatories do to the precession of the polar axis and a discussion of cyclic phenomena associated with the motion of the Moon.
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