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Astronomy Through the Ages by Sir Robert Wilson PDF

By Sir Robert Wilson

ISBN-10: 0203212738

ISBN-13: 9780203212738

ISBN-10: 0585460639

ISBN-13: 9780585460635

ISBN-10: 0748407480

ISBN-13: 9780748407484

From an old point of view, this article provides a wholly non- mathematical creation to astronomy from the 1st endeavours of the ancients to the present advancements in examine enabled by way of innovative technological advances. freed from arithmetic and intricate graphs, the booklet however explains deep techniques of house and time, of relativity and quantum mechanics, and of beginning and nature of the universe. It conveys not just the intrinsic fascination of the topic, but additionally the human aspect and the medical technique as practised by means of Kepler, outlined and elucidated by way of Galileo, after which verified by means of Newton.

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He did not know it then, but even the very nearest stars only have a parallax of about one second of arc and it was not until the nineteenth century that this was finally detected. The cosmology of Aristarchus was not accepted in the ancient Greek world; Aristotle remained supreme. One reaction we know about is that the Stoic, Cleanthes, proposed that Aristarchus should be indicted for impiety for his heliocentric views. Whether this was known eighteen centuries later to an obscure Polish canon of the Christian church who was to propound the same concept (but in a quantified form) or to an 24 ASTRONOMY THROUGH THE AGES ebullient Italian scientist who was to defend it against a formal charge of heresy, is not known.

Not much is known about the personal life of Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria (circa AD 100–170), but his scientific works are well known because his writings survived. His magnum opus, the main result of his life’s work, is known by its Arabic title (a language it was translated into in the ninth century): the Almagest or “the Greatest”. Looking back, this is not quite as conceited as it seems. It was an epic that was to be used THE GREEKS 25 Ptolemy’s world model was based on the cosmology of Aristotle, which constrained the motion of all heavenly bodies to be circular at constant velocity.

From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, they started to question and then criticize Ptolemy for the small adjustments he had made. Before that period the Ptolemaic approach was accepted fully and efforts were concentrated on deriving better values of the basic parameters in order to make the calculations more accurate. In the ninth century, a brilliant astronomer, Muhammad al-Battani, significantly improved the Ptolemaic model, mainly by determining the orbit of the Sun against the fixed stars much more accurately than Ptolemy had managed.

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Astronomy Through the Ages by Sir Robert Wilson


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