Babylon Astronomy

Babylon is considered as the place where astronomy originates. Ancient Mesopotamian culture placed a great emphasis on gathering information about the stars and our solar system.

It is no wonder that Babylonians were very fond of tracking celestial movement: they needed to know the best time to plant the seeds in their harsh desert environment.

The Babylonians also kept written track of the stars.

The Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa for instance was a tablet that recorded the heliacal risings and settings of Venus for 21 years. The Babylonians observed repetitions in the movements of the stars and were able to correctly predict them in the future. They discovered that lunar eclipses had a 19 year cycle.

Every time you look at your watch, you're looking at a fragment of ancient Babylon as well. It was the Babylonians who first instituted a counting system based on 60 when they noticed that it was divisible by an unusually large set of numbers, and that might come in useful.

They were right: apart from a brief moment in the French Revolution when time went metric, a day being divided into ten hours of 100 minutes each, we have counted our days in 60 minutes per hour, 60 seconds per minute, ever since.

But it was not only astronomy that started here, but also the more dubious astrology.

Astrology was a key part of the religion of Babylon. In fact, astrology can be traced back to ancient Babylon. The sun, moon and planets, were considered the homes of the Babylonian Gods and were named after them. It was a form of divination by means of omens.

There is strong evidence that the Zodiac was formed at Babylon around 2100 BC, from Babylonian mythology. They were later adopted by the Romans and passed down to our times.