By James Evans
The background and perform of historical Astronomy combines new scholarship with hands-on technological know-how to convey readers into direct touch with the paintings of historical astronomers. whereas tracing principles from historic Babylon to sixteenth-century Europe, the booklet areas its maximum emphasis at the Greek interval, while astronomers built the geometric and philosophical principles that experience made up our minds the following personality of Western astronomy. the writer methods this background in the course of the concrete information of historic astronomical perform. conscientiously prepared and generously illustrated, the publication can train readers the right way to do genuine astronomy utilizing the equipment of historical astronomers. for instance, readers will learn how to expect the subsequent retrograde movement of Jupiter utilizing both the arithmetical equipment of the Babylonians or the geometric tools of Ptolemy. they're going to the right way to use an astrolabe and the way to layout sundials utilizing Greek and Roman options. The ebook additionally includes supplementary workouts and styles for making a few operating astronomical tools, together with an astrolabe and an equatorium. greater than a presentation of astronomical equipment, the publication offers a serious examine the proof used to reconstruct old astronomy. It comprises wide excerpts from historical texts, meticulous documentation, and energetic discussions of the position of astronomy within the a number of cultures. available to a large viewers, this ebook will entice somebody drawn to how our figuring out of our position within the universe has replaced and built, from precedent days throughout the Renaissance.
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Additional info for The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy
Four. ) a few model of the compound sighting tube was once additionally constructed in antiquity. It i s very unlikely to b e certai n o f th e aspect s o f constructio n becaus e no suc h old instrumen t live on s and n o extan t Gree ok tex t offer s a n adequat e description. in spite of the fact that , th e followin g extract fro m Geminu s depart s n o doub t that h e wa s general wit h a model o f th e dioptr a equivalen t i n principl e t o the compoun d sightin g bath e o f figur e 1. 23 . Geminu s wa s th e autho r o f a n undemanding astronomy textual content, the advent to the Phenomena, written aroun d A. D. 50 . EXTRACT FRO M G E M I N U S advent t o the Phenomena, XI I determine 1. 19 . Th e altitud e ( X o f th e celestia l pole i s equivalent t o th e latitud e L o f th e observer . The cosmo s strikes in a round movement from eas t t o west. For al l the celebrity s which are saw within the eas t after sunse t are saw, because the evening advances, emerging regularly larger and better ; then they're obvious at th e meridian . because the evening advances, an analogous stars are saw declining in the direction of the west; and at las t the y are see n environment . And thi s occurs each da y t o al l th e stars . hence, i t i s transparent tha t the full cosmos, in al l its components, strikes from eas t t o west. That i t make s a round movement is instantly transparent fro m th e fac t tha t all th e celebrity s ris e fro m th e sam e plac e and se t i n th e sam e plac e [o n th e horizon]. in addition, all of the megastar s saw throughout the dioptra s are noticeable to be creating a round motio n throughout the whol e rotation of the dioptras. 37 THE BIRT H O F ASTRONOM Y The las t quoted sentenc e truly refers to an device kind of reminiscent of th e compoun d sightin g bath e o f determine 1. 23 . If the compoun d sightin g tube is equipped with protractors , i t can be utilized t o degree angles . certainly , Geminu s comment s tha t a dioptr a ma y b e use d t o divide th e zodia c int o twelv e equa l components , whic h implie s a n instrumen t outfitted wit h som e sor t o f angula r scale . The compoun d sightin g bath e o f determine 1. 2 three i s no t suite d t o dividin g th e zodia c int o equa l half s (becaus e of the obliquity , o r slantedness , o f the zodia c wit h respec t t o th e equator) , bu t a furthe r modifie d dioptr a migh t hav e don e th e task. although, b y th e tim e of Ptolem y (secon d centur y A. D. ) , an d perhap s b y th e tim e o f Hipparchu s (second centur y B. C. ) , the dioptr a wa s changed b y the armillar y sphere because the device o f selection fo r measuring the location s o f the celebrities . From the n on , the dioptra' s chie f rol e i n astronom y wa s tha t o f a demonstratio n devic e o r educating instrument . In surveying (as against astronomy), the dioptra sa w persevered provider. It wa s elaborated int o a fairl y sophisticate d surveyor' s device, analogous to th e moder n theodolite . A wate r leve l wa s adde d t o th e stan d an d th e sighting bathtub e (o r ro d equippe d wit h attractions ) wa s fitte d wit h a protracto r s o that i t coul d b e used t o measur e angles, a s for exampl e th e angula r top o f a mountai n summit .