The peoples that lived on earth were constantly observing the sky trying very hard to make sense of it. They thought that the constellations were symbols and that these groups of stars told stories of their Gods.
Some groups of people (Babylonians - over 3000 years ago), already had developed the 12 month calendar based on the phases of the moon. They also divided up the sky into 12 equal pieces or parts and picked 12 of the constellations and gave each of their constellations to one of their parts - Signs of the Zodiac. People today read and study the Zodiac.
Other peoples noticed that the constellations looked like people and animals so they made up stories about what they saw.
The early Egyptions used calendars based on the stars. These calendars told them when to plant and harvest their crops. Another interesting fact was the pyramids they built. The pyramids and temples were lined up facing the north because they believed that after the pharaohs died they became stars in northern skies.
A long time ago, before maps and compasses, before radar and satellites, sailors used the stars to navigate. In the N. Hemisphere, people would look for the big dipper (plough). By following the two outside stars they would find Polaris (the North Star). Then they would draw an imaginary line down to the earth and that would be the North Pole.
Also, if the moon rose before the sun set, then the side of the moon that was reflecting light was on the west. But, if the moon rose after midnight the lit side would be to the east.
The Native people of North America always left an opening in the roofs of their long houses so they could view the stars. They used the stars to tell them when to hunt, plant crops and when the new year began.
Many of you may have heard of the Underground Railroad. The system that the slaves used when they escaped from the plantations in the south and were heading north to freedom. The slaves learned a song
Follow the Drinking Gourd and followed the instructions in the song to find their way north. The song made reference to the 'gourd' (the big dipper) and the North Star.
constellations:- a set of stars in the sky that form a picture or pattern that looks like a person, animal or object.
There are people today that believe that the way the stars, planets and their moons move affects the growth of plants. These people are called bio-dynamic gardeners. They believe that the time you chose to harvest your crop, plant or even do the weeding affects your plants.
There are many people that believe in astrology ' the belief that the postion of the planets, the moon and the sun can affect the life and events on earth'. Find out how many people you know read their horoscopes or know what sign they were born under. For example, I am a Gemini - the sign of the Twins.
Many people who enjoy the outdoors, especially campers or hunters should know how to use the sun and stars to navigate. A compass or map may not be available in a survival situation. If this happens then using the knowledge of the ancients to find direction may turn out to be live saving. Remember, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Shadows cast by the sun can be used for both finding directions and telling time.
People throughout the last few hundred years and including the present have enjoyed many of the inventions that have come about because of the stars. Inventions such as telescopes, binoculars and eye-glasses.
The space program provides us with many benefits that increase the quality of our everyday life!
These benefits are called NASA Spinoffs and have been taken from the web site