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AuthorGraร{159}hoff, Gerd. author
TitleThe History of Ptolemy's Star Catalogue [electronic resource] / by Gerd Graร{159}hoff
ImprintNew York, NY : Springer New York, 1990
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Descript XIV, 348 p. online resource


Ptolemy's Almagest shares with Euclid's Elements the glory of being the scientific text longest in use. From its conception in the second century up to the late Renaissance, this work determined astronomy as a science. During this time the Almagest was not only a work on astronomy; the subject was defined as what is described in the Almagest. The cautious emancipation of the late middle ages and the revolutionary creation of the new science in the 16th century are not conceivable without reference to the Almagest. This text lifted European astronomy to the high standard of knowledge on which the new science flourished. Before, the Ptolemaic models of the orbits of the sun, the moon, and the planets had been refined by Arabic astronomers. They provided the structural elements with which Copernicus and Kepler ushered in the era of modern astronomy. The Almagest survived the destruction of its epicyclic representation of the planetary orbits in the conceptual traces left behind in the theories of its successors. The clear separation of the sidereal from the tropical year, the celestial coordinate systems, the concepts of time, the forms of the constellations, and brightness classifications of celestial objects are, among many other things, still part of the astronomical canon even today


1 The Stars of the Almagest -- 1.1 The Documents -- 1.2 The Arabic Revision of the Almagest -- 2 Accusations -- 2.1 Tycho Brahe -- 2.2 Laplace and Lalande -- 2.3 Delambre's Investigations -- 3 The Rehabilitation of Ptolemy -- 3.1 The Number of Hipparchan Stars -- 3.2 Supplementary Catalogues -- 3.3 The Reconstruction of the Hipparchan Catalogue -- 3.4 Gundel's List of Hipparchan Stars -- 3.5 Precession and Solar Theory -- 3.6 Accusations -- 4 The Analysis of the Star Catalogue -- 4.1 The Catalogue in the Almagest -- 4.2 Criticism of Vogt -- 4.3 Gundel's Stars -- 5 Structures in Ptolemy's Star Catalogue -- 5.1 Star Maps -- 5.2 Multiple Sources -- 5.3 Method of Selective Error Distribution -- 5.4 Errors of the Solar Theory -- 5.5 Fractions of Degree -- 5.6 Hipparchus' Commentary on Aratus -- 5.7 Calculation of Phenomena -- 5.8 Deviations from Reality -- 5.9 Reconstruction -- 6 Theory and Observation -- 6.1 The Aristotelian Heritage -- 6.2 The Uncertainty of Empirical Data -- 6.3 Radical Empiricism -- 6.4 Holistic Rationalism -- 7 Appendix A -- 7.1 Stars and Constellations -- 7.2 Identifications -- 8 Appendix B -- 8.1 Transformation Formulae -- 8.2 Column Headings -- 9 Appendix C -- 9.1 Column Headings -- 10 Literature -- 11 Index

Physics Observations Astronomical Astronomy -- Observations Astrophysics Physics Astronomy Observations and Techniques Astrophysics and Astroparticles


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