Archiv der Kategorie: Nebra Sky Disc

Acording to my interpretation the Nebra Sky Disc shows the complete mechanism of the sky.

All golden elements of the Nebra Sky Disk from the first manufacturing phase assigned to different stars

The first manufacturing phase

The Nebra Sky Disk is considered the world’s oldest concrete image of the starry sky. “As the oldest possible date for its manufacture, the beginning of the 2nd millennium seems plausible to us” (Meller, 2005: 301 Harald Meller, 2005. Der geschmiedete Himmel. Theiss-Verlag.).

The star pairs marked in orange and connected by lines could indicate the ends of the extreme positions of the zodiac. (The horizon curves were appropriated only later, but they serve in the drawing for a better understanding.)
The stars marked in green seem to show the five planets visible to the naked eye. From the geocentric view the internal planets, Mercury and Venus, always sit close to the sun and remain near the horizon. The external planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn follow complete orbits in the entire ecliptic in front of the zodiac, like the sun and moon.

In the southern sphere dome of the sky a large hexagonal and triangular constellation, each with additional stars, could be seen at intervals of exactly 6 hours. The higher the twelve stars marked in red are above the green horizontal horizon line, the more northerly they are at the same time.

In the northern celestial vault, the eight stars marked in light blue seem to symbolize the circumpolar stars. At that time, they orbited a starless celestial north pole whose position on the disk is thus defined for the first time.

Three of the circumpolar stars formed a star pointer when the hexagonal constellation was visible at the same time. After 6 hours another pointer formed in the north, together with the triangular constellation. After each additional quarter turn, the star pointers were upside down.

The creator of the Nebra Sky Disk had discovered the mechanism of a complete star clock.

In all probability all of the small gold elements of the Nebra Sky Disk were assigned to certain stars.

Today’s commonly used names of these stars can be taken from the illustration.

In order to represent all the figures of light of the sun and moon with only two symbols, probably intentionally contradictory details were used in the design of the crescent. The golden circular disk obviously represents the full moon, the sun and even the earth, as well.
The crescent symbol shows characteristics of a 4.5-day-old moon as well as of a lunar and a solar eclipse (foto), when the Earth’s shadow created a crescent moon, and the unlit side of the moon created a crescent sun.

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    Harald Meller, 2005. Der geschmiedete Himmel. Theiss-Verlag.

The 4 extreme positions of the zodiac

Die 2 Inneren Planeten sind in Horizontnähe und die 3 Äußeren hoch am Himmel zu sehen.

With the Nebra Sky Disc the stars marked orange in the illustration are particularly conspicuous because they lie approximately in the middle and before the ends of the horizon arcs.

The visible path of the sun or the ecliptic runs through the middle of the zodiac. If we look at the sun the same time every day, it always takes four minutes longer to appear. Because of this delay, we can also observe, every three months at the same time, one of the four extreme positions, the two equinoxes and the solstices,

Rather than relying on the sun, each of these four extreme positions can be recognized much more easily with the help of a bright, almost simultaneously visible pair of stars from two different signs of the zodiac (joined by red lines in the illustration). One star revealed the beginning of the ecliptic in the east and another one revealed the end of the ecliptic in west.
In about 1950 B.C. in Central Germany, always two >ecliptic stars< stood almost exactly above the east and west points at the solstices when the high-level position or low-level position of the ecliptic occurred. During the equinoxes the eastern and western tilt could be observed in each case by a southern and a northern star.

Therefore, these pairs of stars symbolize all the extreme positions of the zodiac, which, however, were also to be seen on other nights, but not at dusk.

Those planets visible with the naked eye

If the creator of the Nebra Sky Disc wanted to show that five planets struck him by their movements, too, he would probably place them close to the sun and moon since they are always seen in their paths, as well as within the extreme positions of the ecliptic, which are indicated in this drawing by straight lines.

Die 2 Inneren Planeten sind in Horizontnähe und die 3 Äußeren hoch am Himmel zu sehen.

The five golden stars in the middle of the Sky Disc – marked in green – represent the five planets visible to the naked eye.
Two golden stars can be seen east of the sun on the edge of the horizon. – This facilitates the visibility of the inner planets, Mercury and Venus. Due to the fact that they orbit the sun in their smaller circuits faster than the Earth, they always stand, even at the farthest distance, in the same quarter of the sky with the sun and in the adjacent signs of the zodiac. Looking from the Earth towards the sun, these stars apparently oscillate only around the sun and in so doing always remain near the horizon.
The three other golden planets have been placed between the sun and the moon, closer to the centre of the disc and therefore higher in the sky. – Since the Earth also belongs to the planets and is the third closest planet to the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn go round the sun beyond the Earth’s orbit in wider radii. As we are able to see the paths of these outer planets >from the inside<, they can never stand between us and the sun. Like the sun and the moon, they follow complete orbits in the whole ecliptic. Thus, they can also be found high above the horizon in the south around midnight.

More about this: Die Sterne

2x Procyon in exactly six hours!

The Nebra Sky Disc shows two large star constellations and exactly 6 hours in between:
The Winter Hexagon and at the same moment the stars Deneb and Vega in the north. Just six hours later appears a large triangular constellation when Procyon, the last star of the hexagonal constellation, stood close to the horizon, directly in the west.

Großes Dreieck mit Procyon

In the computer map on the right hand, we see the whole hexagon of stars as it has just exceeded the north-south axis, the so-called meridian, in about 1950 B.C., in Central Germany. The star Procyon / Canis Minor has just left his highest point, so now he continues the way down to his setting place. In addition the bright star Vega / Lyra was standing exactly in the north point and also at the northern horizon, but further to the west, Deneb / Cygnus could be seen. These two last stars were only visible, if you turned about 180 degrees and looked straight to the north. With Vega in the north point, they formed together with the hexagon of stars a timely exact fixed north-south constellation.

Wintersechseck, Deneb, Vega

Left computer map shows a larger triangle consisting of remarkable bright stars, which is even larger as the before mentioned winter hexagon. It is composed of the star Altiar /Aquila, close to the east point and Arcturus / Bootes approximately in the zenith, as well as the luminous Antares / Scorpius lower in the south-east. On the opposite side of the rising Altair we will see again the bright star Procyon / Canis Minor, shortly before his setting, so that only for a short moment a maximum east-west constellation could be observed.
And the star inside the hexagon, between the two constellations of the zodiac, is probably a planet.

If we look now at both computer maps, to the southern area of the Sky Disc, we see Procyon only close to the meridian and then just still above the western sky edge. For this arc run Procyon on the minute needs exactly six hours.

These before mentioned big star constellations are illustrated on the Nebra Sky Disc.

The eight circumpolar stars

Looking in a northerly direction we can see that the circumpolar stars circle a formerly starless North Pole.1. Phase Blickrichtung Norden

On the Nebra Sky Disc its hight above the horizon on the meridian (= imaginary great circle through the North Pole and the South Pole) is defined by the centre of the circuit of the outer circumpolar star, number 8.alle Zirkumpolarsterne

On the computer map the centre of the blue lines corresponds to the northern celestial pole.
The distances between the parallel circles of all the stars of the Sky Disc, marked in light-blue, do not agree with the “distorted” circuits of the stars in the north view of the computer map, but they proportionately fit the altitude angles of the following upper stars: 1 Kocab / Little Bear, 2 η-Draco, 3 Alkaid / Big Bear, 4 Polaris / Little Bear, 5 Etamin / Draco, 6 Alderamin / Kepheus, 7 Alphekka / Northern Crown, 8 Vega / Lyra.


Sternenzeiger mit Sechseck im SüdenWenn Zirkumpolarsterne gelichzeitig im Meridian stehen, zeigen Sie als Stenenzeiger den Wahren Norden an oder sie bilden den Stundenzeiger einer Sternenuhr. Present doubts about the validity of the classification are allayed when we have a look at the entire firmament, as in the Early Bronze Age in Central Germany Two seasonal constellations.three of the recognized circumpolar stars were positioned almost vertically on top of one another in the meridian (2 η-Draco, 5 Etamin, 8 Vega), while the constellation from the Winter Hexagon with Deneb and Vega was visible. They form an astral hand.

Two further circumpolar stars (3 Alkaid, 4 Polaris) were located in the meridian exactly six hours later when a triangular constellation occupied the eastern quarter of the sky and Procyon, close to the west point, was just about to set.

This part of a perfect star clock, whose hands circle the North Pole in quarter turns at a distance of exactly six hours, has only been seen for very few centuries in approximately 26.000 years!


Nordzeiger Another astral hand, 1 Kocab and 6 Alderamin, might have pointed to True North. “The north was, where the extension of their conection line met the horizon vertically (Kate Spence 2000).” [1]




Presumably the circumpolar star 7 Alphekka was especially important for helping travelers to find their way as it was the brightest star which, after Vega, reached in Central Germany a low position above the True North, as already ascertained.






Two stars form an astral hand and pointed to True North

Astral hand to True NorthTwo of the recognized eight circumpolar stars, Alderamin (10,8°) und Kocab (43,6°), were crossing formerly the meridian nearly at the same time, when they were positioned almost vertically on top of one another. They form an astral hand that could have shown the True North. Kate Spence, University of Cambridge, has proposed a surprising simple theory, which provides the key to the mysterious orientacion of the pyramids. … the Egyptians could have observed two stars, which were lying approximately in one line to the northern skypole, at that time.
The North was where the extension of their connecting line hit the horizon vertically at night.


The sky was the limit for the Pyramid builders
Dinah Ashman explains how modern astronomy may have put a new date on the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

A new theory of how exactly the ancient Egyptians oriented the pyramids according to the stars could put a date on the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza near Cairo that is accurate within 5 years.
Builders probably got started between 2485 and 2475 BC, Kate Spence of the University of Cambridge, UK, proposes in Nature. Previous estimates have been accurate only to within 100 years. Spence’s idea could enable Egyptologists to refine their chronologies for all the reigns of the Old Kingdom — the middle of the third millennium BC.
“Spence has come up with an ingenious solution to a long-standing mystery,” says Owen Gingerich of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The new theory is inspired by the subtle deviations in the alignment of the eight pyramids at Giza from true north. The bases of the earliest-built pyramids point slightly east of north and those of the later-built ones, slightly west. The most precisely aligned pyramid is that of King Khufu or Cheops, also known as the Great Pyramid.
The pyramid builders, Spence suggests, used a pair of fairly bright stars, which in 2467 BC lay precisely along a straight line including the celestial north pole. Each star was about 10 degrees from the pole.
One is Kochab (ï-Ursae Minoris) in the bowl of the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), the other Mizar (zeta-Ursae Majoris) in the middle of the handle of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).
“In 2467 BC an Egyptian astronomer could wait while the heavens slowly pivoted around the unmarked pole until a plumb line exactly intersected both stars, one about 10° above the invisible pole and the other 10° below it,” Gingerich explains. The sight line to the horizon point directly below the plumb line would then point straight to north.
Because of the Earth’s precession — the revolving axis of the Earth is unstable and rotates like a gyroscope with a period of 26,000 years — the celestial north pole was exactly aligned between Kochab and Mizar only in the year 2467 BC. Although given the precision of the measurements of the time, the ‘accurate’ period was effectively a few years.
The orientation errors of earlier and later pyramids faithfully track the slow drift of Kochab and Mizar with respect to true north. Because the error in the Kochab-Mizar alignment can be readily calculated for any date, the error in each pyramid’s orientation reveals its construction date [1].” [2]


[1] Spence, Kate. Ancient Egyptian chronology and the astronomical orientation of pyramids. Nature 408, 320 – 324 .2000
[2]    Dinah Ashman

The Star Clock – a quarter turn of the visible starry sky or 6 hours on our time scale, 90 degrees …

On the Nebra Sky Disc facing south we see our Winter Hexacon and a triangle constellation.On the Nebra Sky Disc facing south, two large constellations form a triangle and a star at the edge on the right, as well as from a hexagon and two stars on the upper edge are depicted.

On the Nebra Sky Disc facing north we see eight circumpolar star circling an invisible North Pole..

Looking north, eight circumpolar stars circle an invisible North Pole whose position on the Sky Disc is determined by three independent clues. The distances between the parallel circles of these stars proportionately fit the altitude angles of some of the brightest circumpolar stars.

The meridian is an imaginary great circle which runs through the North Pole and the South Pole; 90° to the horizon.

In the star clock three of the circumpolar stars discovered in the meridian are located almost vertically above one another, while at the same time the constellation from the Winter Hexagon with Deneb, and Vega at the northerly point, could be seen. Exactly six hours later two more circumpolar stars form an astral hand, when Altair had risen at the eastern point and thereby the triangular constellation occupied the eastern quarter of the sky, while Procyon from the Hexagon was located near the western point, shortly before setting. Another six hours later the first astral hand reached his upper culminacion in the meridian and another six hours later the stars of the second hand had changed their places. Two astral hands in their lower and upper culmination.

One of two astral hands had reached his lower culmination on the meridian.
Six hours later respectively one star of another hand was standing on each side of the North Pole.
After another 90 dedrees sky turn the first reached his upper pinnacle.
And again after a quarter turn of the visible starry sky the second had turned, as well, while Procyon
was just rised and had reached the east point. This astral hand form an exactly 90° angle with Procyon in the east.

As the two stars Procyon and Altair moved parallel to the equinoctial line, one could see them performing a quarter astral course when they were positioned above the southern point.

The North Pole – Altitudes can be measured from the Earth

On the Nebra Sky Disc the position of the invisible North Pole can be defined by means of three independent clues.The North Pole is determined by the centre of the outer circumpolar star.


1.) The height of the North Pole above the horizon is determined on the meridian by the centre of the circuit of the outer circumpolar star, number 8.


The North Pole is indicates by connecting line between the ends of the solar arc and the meridian2.) The position of the northern celestial pole is also indicated by the solar arc, depicted in the 3. production phase of the Sky Disc, because the connecting line between its ends intersects with the meridian right in the previously ascertained middle of the circumpolar stars!the course of teh sun between winter and summer solstice and the moon turns


3.) The horizon arcs, added in phase 2, represent the course of the sun between winter and summer solstice and as well the moon turns. However, as one can only see the latter from Earth, the golden circular disk now symbolizes the Earth.

The golden circular disk now symbolizes the EarthWe mark the position of the North Pole already known to us and from there we draw a connecting line to the centre of the circular disk. From the North Pole we move 51° to the right and from there we draw the horizon line once again through the centre of the disk. From the other side of the celestial pole we establish the zenith line 39° away, which coincides exactly with