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ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy

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Author Topic: ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy  (Read 7807 times)
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« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2009, 09:25:33 am »

Al-Battani, called by his European translators Albategni, is a case in point. He wrote in the ninth century on a wide number of scientific topics and some of his observations struck at cherished Ptolemaic dogmas. He showed, for example that, contrary to Ptolemy, annular eclipses - in which a ring of light encircles the eclipsed portion - were possible, and that the angular diameter of the sun was subject to variation. He showed - again contrary to Ptolemy - that the solar apogee was subject to the precession of the equinoxes; he corrected a number of planetary orbits; he determined the true and mean orbit of the sun. Interestingly, in the light of Prince Sultan's observation of the new moon, al-Battani also developed a theory of the conditions of visibility of the new moon.

Other Muslim astronomers also came up with data that conflicted with Ptolemy, one of them perhaps the greatest Muslim physicist of them all: Ibn al-Haytham, called Alhazen in the medieval West. Al-Haytham argued that the Milky Way was quite far from the earth no matter what Aristotle said, and estimated the height of the earth's atmosphere at 52,000 paces - a pace being roughly one meter, or three feet. Al-Haytham worked that out from his observation that the astronomic twilight begins when the negative height of the sun reaches 19 degrees. Since the atmosphere is about 50 kilometers up (31 miles) and 52,000 paces is roughly 31 kilometers (32 miles), Ibn al-Haytham was not far wrong.
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