The scientific history of the West commenced around 600 BC, which coincided with the beginning of the Greek civilization (Lankford 425).
Some of the eminent Greek astronomers are described in the sequel. Pythagoras of Samos, Ionia taught that any object, principle or idea in the universe was subject to quantification. This fundamental principle provided a concrete mathematical foundation for the fledgling science of astronomy. The Pythagoreans subscribed to the view that each of the planets was attached to a crystalline sphere that had the Earth as its centre. Pythagoras was the first to discover that the morning star and the evening star were the planet Venus (Lankford 425).
Thereafter, Aristotle made a number of astronomical discoveries. For instance, he established that phases of the Moon were on account of different sunlit portions being visible in a month. It was his well founded contention that the Sun was a much greater distance than the Moon, from the Earth; because during a solar eclipse the Sun’s light was prevented from reaching the Earth by the intervening Moon (universe).
The shadow of the Earth, which is seen on the Moon, during a lunar eclipse, led Aristotle to conclude that the Earth was spherical in shape. At such times, the Earth is interposed between the Sun and the Moon. On the other hand if the Earth had been a flat disk, then its shadow at the edge would have resembled a straight line. Another piece of evidence that he quoted in support of this theory was that after travelling a great distance south, sojourners were unable to see some of the stars that had been visible from Greece. On a flat earth, any person, irrespective of location would have seen the same stars. However, on a spherical Earth, the view from different latitudes, entails different angles; therefore, the stellar constellations viewed are different (universe).
The astronomers had established that the Earth was a sphere – an oblate spheroid if one desires