Fixed and Wandering Stars
Ancient Babylonian, Assyrian, and Egyptian astronomers knew the approximate length of the year. The Egyptians of 3000 years ago, for example, adopted a calendar based on a 365-day year. They kept careful track of the rising time of the bright star Sirius in the predawn sky, which has a yearly cycle that corresponded with the flooding of the Nile River. The Chinese also had a working calendar; they determined the length of the year at about the same time as the Egyptians. The Chinese also recorded comets, bright meteors, and dark spots on the Sun. Later, Chinese astronomers kept careful records of “guest stars”—those that are normally too faint to see but suddenly flare up to become visible to the unaided eye for a few weeks or months. We still use some of these records in studying stars that exploded a long time ago.
The Mayan culture in Mexico and Central America developed a sophisticated calendar based on the planet Venus, and they made astronomical observations from sites dedicated to this purpose a thousand years ago. The Polynesians learned to navigate by the stars over hundreds of kilometers of open ocean—a skill that enabled them to colonize new islands far away from where they began.
In Britain, before the widespread use of writing, ancient people used stones to keep track of the motions of the Sun and Moon. We still find some of the great stone circles they built for this purpose, dating from as far back as 2800 BCE. The best known of these is Stonehenge.
Q. What does the author say about ancient calendars in paragraph 2?
A is correct because, in paragraph 2, the author talks about how the Mayan culture, an ancient group, developed calendars based on Venus – a planet – and “astronomical observations from sites…a thousand years ago”. Thus, we can conclude it’s ancient. Additionally, it says that the Polynesians, another ancient culture, used the stars to navigate. Some of the keywords from option a – “based on” and “planet” – are found within the same sentence in which the question keyword “calendars” is mentioned, thus there is no need to go beyond option a.