I studied astronomy and physics at university after pretty much a lifetime of wanting to be an astronomer. Astronomy was (and still is) one of those things that continues to amaze me, but it’s something that I can generally “get”.

I say ‘generally’, because until recently, if you asked me how humankind first figured out the distance to the Sun, or that the Earth was round, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. It’s this aspect of astronomy that’s more or less a part of history, rather than a part of useful science nowadays.

So, I have an idea. I’d like undertake the experiments that the ancient philosophers and astronomers did and “discover” the basic shape and geometry of nature and the Universe around us. To do this, I hope to make my own observations of the motions of planets and stars in the sky. Where such observations are not possible, I may have to cheat and use computer simulations to describe the experiment.

I’ll post each experiment and “discovery” on this blog as I complete them, maybe with a few notes on what I found and why the experiment was important in a historical context. All going well I hope it will make an interesting series of posts, and I hope to learn a bit more about observational astronomy.

I’ll post them all under the category ‘Geometry of Nature’ for easy navigation. First up: planets.