Chinese Ancient Astronomy


The ancient history of the Chinese astronomy is a rich and fascinating one. Much surprising things came to light while unearthing Chinese history in the field of astronomy.

The most amazing fact related to this topic is that the first planetarium in the world was constructed in China and that too by the then emperor. This is amazing because emperors all over the world were known to make monuments and places of worship but nothing related to science like a planetarium. At that time, a planetarium used to be like a huge enclosed area with stars and their constellations in it. A chair used to be hung from the top of the dome, which was enclosed and the observer had to sit on it to study the stars.

Astronomy was related to the ancient Chinese government. Astronomers were hired to understand the motions of the sun, the moon and the planets and translate them to the emperor to tell him what they supposed to mean to him. In fact, the first solar eclipse was observed by the Chinese astronomers as early as in the year 2136 B.C.

Oracle bones were also a part of the early Chinese astronomy scene. These bones comprised of tortoise shells and other animal bones and had astronomical observations inscribed upon them. These oracle bones are believed to serve divination purposes. Magnetic compass, one of the most basic instruments of the astronomy and geography fields is invented by the ancient Chinese astronomers. They used it as early as in the 12th century to understand the direction and the way their marine vessels were going, especially in the bad weather.