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A tomb dating from about 4000 BCE contained bones and shells inscribed with the Plough and symbols for the Azure Dragon and White Tiger, two of the four regions, the black tortoise and the Vermillion bird being the others.A lacquered box, dating from before 433 BCE had the names of the 28 Mansions inscribed on the lid, showing that this system was in use for a long time.Using self-designed instruments, he proposed that the year was 365.24281481 days long, a measurement that is less than a minute different from modern measurements.He used this to design the Daming calendar, the most accurate lunisolar calendar available at that time.One of the famous observations made by Chinese astronomers was that of a supernova in the year 1054.They referred to this phenomenon in records as a 'guest star', and mention that it remained bright for about a year before again becoming invisible.

To make such accurate measurements of position in the sky, the Chinese must have used an armillary sphere, a metal sphere consisting of intersecting scaled circles, which allowed the observer to give each star a coordinate.To measure time, the Chinese divided the sky into 12 branches and 10 stems arranged around the ecliptic, to give a 60-year cycle.This particular system is believed to have been implemented by Emperor Huang Ti, whose reign began in about 2607 BCE.As the astronomers began to chart regular events, such as lunar eclipses, these were removed from the realm of astrologers, who Emperors consulted before every major decision.As a result, the Chinese developed an extensive system of the zodiac designed to help guide the life of people on Earth.

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