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The sky is the most mysterious part of our everyday experience.
Familiarity may make the amazing events going on at ground level seem almost ordinary. Two great objects travel through it, one hot and constant, the other cold and changeable.
Astrology is a pseudo-science interpreting the supposed effect of the heavenly bodies on human existence. The sky is the home of many of the gods, who influence life on earth.
And the patterns in the sky must surely reflect that influence.
Man's interest in the sky is at the heart of three separate stories - astronomy, astrology and the calendar.
Astronomy is the scientific study of sun, moon and stars.
The only simple yet accurate way of measuring a year is in relation to the stars (though structures such as the passage grave at Newgrange can record an annual position of the sun, at a considerable cost in effort).
The stars appear in the night sky at different times and places depending on where the earth is in its orbit round the sun.
Instead of 32 years with the moon, it is 1460 years before Sirius rises again on the first day of the first month.
The Roman calendar introduced by Julius Caesar, and subsequently known as the Julian calendar, gets far closer to the solar year than any predecessor.
By the 1st century BC reform in Rome has become an evident necessity.
This happens in Mesopotamia and in republican Rome, and it remains the case today in the Jewish calendar.
But the Egyptian priests' observation of Sirius enables them to count the number of days in a solar year. They then very logically adjust the twelve months of the lunar year, making each of them 30 days long and adding 5 extra days at the end of the year.