ANCIENT HINDU ASTRONOMY

Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace ( 1749-1827) French mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer, a contemporary of Napoleon, is best known for his nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system. He wrote:
"Nevertheless the ancient reputation of the Indians does not permit us to doubt that they have always cultivated astronomy, and the remarkable exactness of the mean motions which they assign to the Sun and the Moon necessarily required very ancient observation." 

Yaqubi, a Shiite historian, wrote in the ninth century: "Hindu are more exact in astronomy and astrology than any other people.

Kanada, the founder of the Vaisesika system of philosophy, expounded that the entire matter in this world consists of atoms as many in kind as the various elements. Kanada's atom would then correspond to the modern atom. Kanada taught that light and heat are variations of the same reality. Vacaspati interpreted light as composed of minute particles emitted by substances and striking the eyes. This is a clear anticipation of the corpuscular theory of light, which was proposed by Newton but rejected till the discovery of the proton. (source: Hinduism and Scientific Quest - By T R. R. Iyengar p. 153-154 South Asia Books ASIN 8124600775). 

The Sun was considered as being at the center of the solar system (cf Markandeya Purana, 106. 41).
The Vedic text Aitareya Brahmana (c. 9th–8th century BC) declares: 
“The Sun does never set nor rise. When people think the Sun is setting (it is not so). For after having arrived at the end of the day it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making night to what is below and day to what is on the other side…Having reached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making day to what is below and night to what is on the other side. In fact, the Sun never sets….”
A later commentary, Vishnu Purana (2.8) (c. 1st century), states: "The sun is stationed for all time, in the middle of the day. [...] Of the sun, which is always in one and the same place, there is neither setting nor rising."

The Surya Siddhanta is the oldest surviving astronomical text in the Indian tradition. Some Western scholars date it to perhaps the fifth or sixth centuries A.D., though the text itself claims to represent a tradition much, much older. It explains that the earth is shaped like a ball, and states that at the very opposite side of the planet from India is a great city where the sun is rising at the same time it sets in India. In this city, the Surya Siddhanta claims, lives a race of siddhas, or advanced spiritual adepts. If you trace the globe of the earth around to the exact opposite side of India, you'll find Mexico. Is it possible that the ancient Indians were well aware of the great sages/astronomers of Central America many centuries before Columbus discovered America?
A German linguist Kurt Schildmann, a native of Heiderhof, says his study of ancient inscriptions discovered in the caves of Peru and the United States shows that they are similar to ancient Indus Valley Sanskrit, suggesting that seafarers from India may have reached the Americas thousands of years ago. He describes the Indus civilization as a forerunner of other world civilizations. While doing "epigraphic research" on the Crespi collection of Cuenca, Peru, Schildmann discovered Sanskrit in inscriptions found in Peru and in the Burrows cave in southern Illinois. Russel Burrows, a retired colonel of the U.S. armed forces, accidentally discovered the cave on April 2, 1982.
Schildmann had noticed the similarity between the language of the inscriptions in Peru and the Burrows' cave after having deciphered the inscriptions in the Indus Valley. He also deciphered an icon found in the Burrows' cave, on which he said many details depicted the "wisdom of the Indus culture". Schildmann was struck by the drawing of an elephant on top of a "Pyramid", with three lines of a legend. He deciphered the legend as "PIL", that was 6000 years old ancient Sanskrit word for an elephant. He concluded, the ancient Indian engraved texts on gold plates and hid them to honor the gods and address the succeeding generations.

Aitareya Brahmana also says: “There is no happiness for the one that does not travel. Living with the same people, the best of men becomes a sinner. The God Indra is the friend of travellers. Therefore wander.”
A translation of the Rig Veda goes: "In the prescribed daily prayers to the Sun we find.the Sun is at the center of the solar system. ..The student ask, "What is the nature of the entity that holds the Earth? The teacher answers, "Rishi Vatsa holds the view that the Earth is held in space by the Sun."

Rik Samhita tells the following:
“The Sun is the soul of the world.” 
“He is one who is our father, our protector, our guide who knows all the worlds, all cosmos; He is but one though many in names, and him, many question, and seek to know”
“Oh Agni! You are the friend of all born creatures. You are the most loved one, and the dearest of those that love you.”
“I consider Agni as my father, my brother and the good-willed friend. I worship your worthy face as the bright and lovely orb of the great Sun”.
“Oh great Benefactor! Oh you with unsurpassable might! You have become (by your own will) our Father and Mother. We crave for your Mercy”

The Indian astronomers went even further, giving a physical reason for how the dual star or binary motion might allow the rise and fall of human consciousness to occur. They said that the Sun (with the Earth and other planets) traveled along its set orbital path with its companion start, it would cyclically move close to, then away from, a point in space referred to as Vishnunabhi, a supposed magnetic center or "grand center".
In the introduction to his book The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar explains that the sun's 24,000 year revolution around its companion star takes the sun progressively closer, and then progressively further away from the mystic center Vishnunabhi. In his system, dharma increases as we approach Vishnunabhi and decreases as we draw away from it. The cycle of yugas takes place twice in each 24,000 year revolution. As the sun recedes from Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the usual order: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali. As the sun approaches Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the opposite order: Kali, Dvapara, Treta, Satya.

Romanian and U.S. scientists have found evidence modern humans and Neanderthals interbred as Homo sapiens spread across Europe 35,000 years ago. A member of the U.S. team, Washington University anthropologist Erik Trinkaus, said although the remains are largely typical of modern humans, they also show some distinctly Neanderthal skeletal traits, including the shape of the lower jaw and the back of the skull. The fossils were 30,000 years old and the ancient human bones recovered from a Romanian cave called ”Pestera Muierii” (“the cave of the woman”). The results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
An Early Upper Palaeolithic burial, over 24,000 years old, at the Abrigo do Lagar Velho in central western Portugal, revealed the remains of a young boy who was part Neanderthal, part modern human. The edge of the shallow grave was lined with stones and bones, which included the remains of red deer coxyx placed by his right arm, in addition to an articulated vertebral column of a rabbit apparently placed over his chest and upper arm. These have been dated by Oxford University's radiocarbon accelerator unit to c 24,000-25,000 years ago.
A study in Nature magazine suggests the Neanderthal people may have lived in Gorham's Cave on Gibraltar up to 24,000 years ago
Dick Fischer said that "the beginnings of God-awareness or seeking after God can be substantiated in history by the evidence of religious relics and altars dating as far back as 24,000 years ago”. This view is sustained also by Hugh Ross.
A study by Peter Underhill, a senior researcher at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, reveals that 24,000 years ago, when the last ice age began, huge glaciers moved across Europe, causing Paleolithic Europeans to seek refuge in what is now Spain, the Balkans and Ukraine. Then 16,000 years ago, when the glaciers finally melted, the Paleolithic tribes settled throughout the rest of the continent.
According to Mr. Underhill, Y chromosome mutations occurred among people in each of the ice age refugees and his research shows that the pattern that developed in Spain is now most common in northwest Europe, Ukraine's is most common in Eastern Europe, and the Balkan pattern in Central Europe. The Y chromosome is inherited only by sons from their fathers. 

Dr. Brown is one of Time magazine’s "100 Most Influential People of 2006." It is one of Dr. Brown’s discoveries that demoted Pluto from being the 9th planet to being only one of many “dwarf planets.” The largest dwarf planet is Eris (2003 UB 313), second in size is Pluto and the third largest dwarf planet is 2003 EL61. The last is one is a big spinning rock that has never been given a real name. It’s only referred to as 2003 – the year it was discovered – and EL 61,
“We didn’t expect to find anything so strangely shaped and so rapidly rotating. It’s the fastest, large rotating object in the solar system." - Michael E. Brown, Ph.D., Cal Tech 
Where did the bizarre, nearly planet-sized rock in the Kuiper Belt come from (the Kuiper Belt is a ring of some 100,000 objects of varying sizes in the outskirts of the solar system)? 
Michael Brown says he has discovered the “smoking gun.” In the March 15, 2007, Nature journal, Dr. Brown describes finding icy satellites in the EL61 region that have surface properties nearly identical to those of 2003 EL61. This is the first “family” of Kuiper Belt objects ever discovered and imply all came from one, gigantic impact long ago

On 15 March 2004, astronomers from Caltech, Gemini Observatory, and Yale University announced the discovery of the coldest, most distant object known to orbit the sun. The object was found at a distance 90 times greater than that from the sun to the earth -- about 3 times further than Pluto, the most distant known planet. Even more interestingly, the orbit of Sedna is extreme elliptical, in contrast to all of the much closer planets, and it takes 10,500 years to circle the sun.
NEWPORT BEACH, CA (April 24, 2006) - The Binary Research Institute (BRI) has found that orbital characteristics of the recently discovered planetoid, "Sedna", demonstrate the possibility that our sun might be part of a binary star system. A binary star system consists of two stars gravitationally bound orbiting a common center of mass. Once thought to be highly unusual, such systems are now considered to be common in the Milky Way galaxy. 
WALTER CRUTTENDEN is an amateur theoretical archaeo-astronomer, Executive Director of the Binary Research Institute and author of the binary theory of precession. As Walter Cruttenden at BRI, Professor Richard Muller at UC Berkeley, Dr. Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana, amongst several others, have long speculated on the possibility that our sun might have an as yet undiscovered companion. Most of the evidence has been statistical rather than physical.
Walter Cruttenden agrees that Sedna's highly elliptical orbit is very unusual, but noted that the orbit period of 12,000 years is in neat resonance with the expected orbit periodicity of a companion star as outlined in several prior papers. Consequently, Cruttenden believes that Sedna's unusual orbit is something indicative of the current solar system configuration, not merely a historical record. "It is hard to imagine that Sedna would retain its highly elliptical orbit pattern since the beginning of the solar system billions of years ago. Because eccentricity would likely fade with time, it is logical to assume Sedna is telling us something about current, albeit unexpected solar system forces, most probably a companion star". 
In his new book, "Lost Star of Myth and Time", Walter Cruttenden, presents the evidence that this binary orbit relationship may be the cause of a vast cycle causing the Dark and Golden Ages common in the lore of ancient cultures. If the companion of the sun is a brown dwarf, the more likely Newtonian case, it is probably 800 to 1000 astronomical units (AU) distant. One AU is the distance between the Earth and the sun, or 93 million miles.
The Precessional Cycle was described by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, in the Second century BC. but it seems to have been known in the ancient Vedic culture as well. A complete precession cycle covers a period of approximately 25,700 years, (the so called great Platonic year). Calculated precession rates over the last 100 years show increasing precession rates which produce a declining precession cycle period. The precession is actually the result of the curved path of the Sun through space, around common mass center of our binary star system.
In April 2001, Discover Magazine reported that scientists from University of Michigan and University of Arizona found our solar system has a sheer edge meaning matter such as asteroids, ice and other objects of all sizes appears to abruptly end. A single sun system should have a very wide dispersal of matter getting smaller and smaller for billions of miles beyond the Kuiper Belt. Interestingly, a sheer edge is also widely thought to be typical of a binary system. In a binary system, you would expect the two companion stars gravity fields to cause any excess matter to be sheered away (ejected or captured) on a regular basis.
Scientists determined that Voyager I was approaching the outermost layer of our solar system, called the "termination shock,"  when it began detecting charged particles that were being pushed back toward the sun by charged particles coming from outside our solar system. This occurred when Voyager 1 was about 85 AU from the sun. In contrast, Voyager II began detecting returning particles while only 76 AU from the sun. This tells us that the termination shock came closer to the sun between the passing of Voyager I and II. That means the solar system is approaching its binary star!
Richard A. Muller, a physicist at University of California at Berkeley, suggested, more than 20 years ago, that our Sun has a companion star responsible for recurring episodes of wholesale death and destruction here on Earth. Nemesis, as Muller calls it, is a common red dwarf star that would be visible through binoculars or a small telescope, if only we knew which of some 3,000 stars to look at. These are stars that have been cataloged, but their distances are not known. 
Muller figures Nemesis' orbit ranges from 1 to 3 light-years away from the Sun. (The Sun's nearest known star, Proxima Centauri, is about 4.25 light-years away). 
On its closest approach, the lethal companion would pass through a vast, but sparsely populated halo of primitive comets called the Oort Cloud, which surrounds our solar system from beyond Neptune's orbit out to nearly a light-year away. During this passage through or near the Oort Cloud, the gravity of Nemesis would scatter a furious storm of millions of comets, that dislodged from their once-stable orbits, would travel to the inner solar system over millions of years, pulled toward the Sun by its gravity. A handful would run into Earth along the way, and the flurry of would result in mass extinctions.
On January 2, 2004, the Stardust craft had entered the dusty clouds around Comet Wild 2 (pronounced VILT 2), gathering samples of the minute particles as they struck the "aerogel" in a 100-pound capsule. The capsule returned to Earth and parachuted to touchdown on a Utah desert January 15, 2006.
The first results from NASA's Stardust mission are surprising: the particles revealed abundances of minerals that can only be formed at high temperatures. Mineral inclusions ranged from anorthite, which is made up of calcium, sodium, aluminum and silicate, to diopside, made of calcium magnesium and silicate. Formation of such minerals requires temperatures of thousands of degrees.
Researchers were forced to conclude that the enigmatic particle material formed at a superheated region either close to our Sun, or close to an alien star. "In the coldest part of the solar system we've found samples that formed at extremely high temperatures," said Donald Brownlee, Stardust's principal investigator at the University of Washington in Seattle.
A very good video regarding the 24.000 year cycle, the precession of equinoxes and sun's companion star can be seen  here.
According to Nostradamus, the companion star will be visible for seven days, when two stars will appear on the sky. By this time, the Pope will leave Vatican.
"The great star will burn for seven days, 
The cloud will make two suns appear: 
The large mastiff will howl all night 
When the great pontiff changes his abode." (Quatrain II-41)

Sayana (c. 1315-1387), was a minister in the court of King Bukka I of the Vijayanagar Empire in South India. In his commentary on the 4th verse of the hymn 1.50 of the Rig Veda on the sun, he says:
Tatha cha smaryate yojananam sahasre dve dve shate dve cha yogane ekena nimishardhena kramamana namo ‘stu ta iti 
Thus it is remembered: O Sun, bow to you, you who travers 2,202 yojanas in half a minute. 
The Puranas define 1 nimesha to be equal to 16/75 seconds. 1 yojana is about 9 miles. 
2,202 yojanas x 9 miles x 75 - 8 nimeshas = 185,794 m.p.s.
Basically, Sayana is saying that sunlight travels at 186,000 miles per second! How could a Vedic scholar who died in 1387 A.D. have known the correct figure for the speed of light? 
Sayana’s statement was printed in 1890 in the famous edition of Rig Veda edited by Max Muller, the German Sanskrit scholar.

Yajnavalkya of Mithila (c. 9th–8th century BC) composed the astronomical text Shatapatha Brahmana, where recognized that the Earth is spherical and believed that the Sun was "the centre of the spheres" as described in the Vedas at the time. 
Based on this heliocentric model, he proposes a 95-year cycle to synchronize the motions of the Sun and the Moon, which gives the average length of the tropical year as 365.24675 days, which is only 6 minutes longer than the modern value of 365.24220 days.
In Shatapatha Brahmana (8.7.3.10) he states: "The sun strings these worlds - the earth, the planets, the atmosphere - to himself on a thread." He recognized that the Sun was much larger than the Earth, which would have influenced this early heliocentric concept. He also accurately measured the relative distances of the Sun and the Moon from the Earth as 108 times the diameters of these heavenly bodies, close to the modern measurements of 107.6 for the Sun and 110.6 for the Moon.
The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 108 times the sun's diameter. The diameter of the sun is about 108 times the earth's diameter. And the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the moon's diameter.
Yogis divide the ecliptic into 27 equal sections called nakshatras, and each of these into four equal sectors called padas, or "steps," marking the 108 steps that the sun and moon take through heaven.

If you have a fixed camera and photograph the noontime position of the Sun in the sky over a one-year period, you might notice that at certain times throughout the year the sun's position not only varies higher and lower as you would expect with the change of the seasons, but also slightly east and west. The resulted picture is a figure-8 path that the sun makes in the sky, that is called the analemma and looks like a mala or a rosary. The highest point on the analemma is the Sun’s noon position on the summer solstice. The lowest point marks the winter solstice. The difference in the Sun’s noontime height in the sky is caused by Earth’s tilted axis.
Many sundials have a figure eight looking image called the analemma. In antiquity analemma refers exclusively to a projective method used for constructing horizontal sundials, particularly to find latitude from shadow length or vice versa.

Jan 04 latest sunrise

Jun 14 earliest sunrise

Dec 21 shortest day

Jun 21 longest day

Dec 7 earliest sunset

Jun 27 latest sunset

9 is the Hindu number of planets, and 12 is the Zodiac. 108 = 9 x 12
Indian thought takes the outer cosmology to be mirrored in the inner cosmology of the human. Therefore, the number 108 is also taken to represent the 'distance' from the body of the devotee to the God within. The chain of 108 'links' is held together by 107 joints, which is the number of marmas, or weak spots, of the body in Ayurveda. 
We can understand that the 108 beads of the rosary (japamala) must map the steps between the body and the inner sun. The devotee, while saying beads, is making a symbolic journey from the physical body to the heavens.
The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.
The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars.
There are said to be a total of 108 energy lines (nadis) converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.
There are also:
108 names of Shiva.
108 lords of the Tao according to the Taoism. 
108 sacred stars in Chinese astrology 
108 seats in the Nepalese parliament
108 columns of the temple of Ourga. 
108 towers of the Phnom Bakheng in Angkor. 
108 branches or navamsas. 
108 energy lines (nadis) converging to form the heart chakra
108 moves in tai chi 
108 poses of cosmic dance in Siva Nataraja dances