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Just how on Earth did the ancient Egyptians find a star located 92 light years away, thousands of years ago, without the use of telescopes?
According to researchers from the University of Helsinki, this ancient Egyptian papyrus is the oldest preserved historical text of naked-eye observations of a variable star located 92 light years away, the eclipsing binary star Algol.
After studying an ancient piece of papyrus believed to date back more than 3,000 years, experts located what is now believed to be the earliest written record of the variable star Algol, a three-star system located more 92 light years from Earth.
Furthermore, not only did the ancient Egyptians managed to spot the star without the use of telescopes, mainstream scholars believe the star greatly influenced ancient Egyptian religious calendars.
Algol, three stars in one—Beta Persei Aa1, Aa2, and Ab
As the three stars pass one in front of the other, their brightness dips when observed from Earth. Now, experts have found a strong correlation between this pattern and the so-called ancient Cairo calendar which demonstrates how the ancient Egyptian closely followed the behavior of Algol.
“Our statistical analysis leads us to argue that the mythological texts of the Cairo Calendar contain astrophysical information about Algol,” the scientists said.
Researchers have discovered how the calendar written on the ancient Papyrus details every day of the years, marking religious feasts, favorable and unfavorable days, forecasts, mythological stories and warnings for the people of ancient Egypt.,
Furthermore, it is shown that the brightest phases of the moon and the eclipsing binary star match up with positive days in the ancient Egyptian calendar.
Algol, which is also referred to as the Demon star was linked to the winking eye of Medusa by early astronomers.
Despite the fact that the ancient Egyptians knew of its existence thousands of years ago, the eclipsing binary was discovered in 1669.
The ancient Papyrus detailing Algol dates back to around 1244 to 1163 BC.
“Until now, there were only conjectures that many of the mythological texts of the Cairo Calendar describe astronomical phenomena,” explained one of the team, Sebastian Porceddu.
“We can now unambiguously ascertain that throughout the whole year the actions of many deities in the Cairo Calendar are connected to the regular changes of Algol and the Moon.”
Researchers believe how Algol was represented as Horus. “We show that Algol was represented as Horus and thus signified both divinity and kingship.”
“The texts describing the actions of Horus are consistent with the course of events witnessed by any naked eye observer of Algol.”
“The period of the Moon, 29.6 days, has also been discovered in the Cairo Calendar,” they said. “We show that the actions of Seth were connected to this period, which also strongly regulated the times described as lucky for Heaven and for Earth.”