The Chinese of 3500 years ago believed that the earth was a chariot, and the sky was a curved canopy(天空)stretched above it. The canopy was nine layers thick, and it sloped slightly to the northwest, as a cataclysm(地陷)had broken one of its supporting columns. This gentle slope explained the movement of the stars from east to west.
According to these ancient Chinese beliefs, the sun spent the night on earth and ascended to the sky each morning from the luminous valley of the earth by climbing the branches of an immensely tall sacred tree. To the Chinese people, the sun was the incarnation of goodness, beauty, and truth. In popular imagination, the sun was represented as a cock that little by little assumed human form. His battles with the dragons, which personified evil in their beliefs, accounted for momentary disappearances of the sun that men now call eclipses. Many of the Chinese people worshiped the sun, but in the vast and complicated organization of the Chinese gods, the sun was of only secondary importance.
Along with these unsophisticated beliefs about the sun, the Chinese evolved a science of astronomy based upon observation—though essentially religious—which enabled them to predict eclipses of the sun and the movement of the stars. Such predictions were based on calculations made by using a gnomon(【天文】日晷儀指針)—an object whose shadow could be used as a measure, as with a sundial or simple shadow pointers. Moreover, with the naked eye, the Chinese observed sunspots, a phenomenon not then known to their contemporaries.
1. The ancient Chinese believed that the earth ______.
A. was a chariot B. sloped to the northwest
C. was supported by columns D. had nine layers
2. To the Chinese people, the sun represented ______.
A. the primary god B. evil
C. goodness, beauty and truth D. combat
3. The sun‘s disappearances were thought to be caused by ______.
A. fights with cocks B. fights with dragons
C. a scientific phenomenon D. eclipse
4. Ancient Chinese astronomy could be accurately described as ______.
A. entirely religious in nature B. based on legendary figures
C. advanced in some areas D. completely unsuccessful
5. Implied but not stated: ______.
A. The sun was worshiped by all the Chinese people
B. The sun was thought of as a cock
C. Chinese religion and astronomy were closely interrelated
D. Sundials were first used by the Chinese