4D Stonehenge & Primitive Astronomy

Ideas about how a world with more than three spatial dimensions would work - what laws of physics would be needed, how things would be built, how people would do things and so on.

4D Stonehenge & Primitive Astronomy

Postby PatrickPowers » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:48 am

In 3D Stonehenge they marked the places on the horizon where the Sun rose and set. On a 4D Earth this could be done as well. The result is a Lissajous figure. With an isoclinic rotation I think you get an ellipse. If the ratio between the rotational periods is two then you get a lemniscate. If the ratio is irrational then you get a non-repeating figure. That would be hard to deal with, but over a long period of time you would get an approximate repetition that would be good enough for primitive man. The convex hull of this non-closed curve is an ellipse. Or so I believe.

On 3D Earth we have the big clue of the two fixed points in the sky around which the stars appear to revolve. 4D Earth doesn't have that.
All I can think of is to observe how some prominent constellations are moving. You can then estimate how close to directly overhead that constellation will pass. But this wouldn't be easy. Also you would have to be still for a while in order to do that. You can't tell much of anything at a glance. The only exception is if the rotation is isoclinic, you have a good idea of the time, know where that constellation was last night at that time, and how that constellation related to your position. Ouch. Seems quite difficult.

With a compass the situation is even harder to deal with. The only advantage is that it can be used when heavenly bodies aren't visible. Or perhaps idiosyncracies of the magnetic field would be useful.
PatrickPowers
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