Thursday, November 29, 2012

Muslim Astronomers

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Astronomy
Need for Astronomical Science
- Travel for Trade Find direction of Makkah
- Building Mosques
- Star Maps
- Astrolabes Building of Observatories
- Celestial Motions
- Geodetic Measurements
- Verification of Solar Year
- Astronomical Instruments
Arab developed interest  in study of stars and sky because as the dwellers of the desert who usually traveled at night in connection with trade, war and migration from one place to another, they found the direction of their journey with the help of the stars. The clear sky of the desert gave them a chance of making precise observations. Thus there was some locally acquired knowledge of the fixed stars, the movements of the planets and the changes of the weather. After the advent of Islam, the Muslims had to determine the time of the prayers and the direction of the Ka'abah. For this Muslims who once flourished in trade all over the world of launched Jihad, had to travel on the land and the sea. As an aid to travel, navigation and meteorology, a by-product of navigation, they needed star maps. The necessity of such maps also resulted in their interest in astronomy.
The regular study of astronomy and mathematic s was begun at Baghdad in the second half of the 8th century CE during the time of the second 'Abbasi Khaleefah al-Mansur, The investigations on astronomy continued. Nearly all of the original and creative work was done by Muslims. Astronomy reached its highest in the 13th and 14th centuries CEo In the 12th century CE, the Christians and Jews started the work of translation from Arabic into Latin and Hebrew, and began to conduct research in this field. But until the end of the 13th century CE, no mathematical and astronomical work comparable to that of the Muslims could be produced by the Christians or Jews.




The Muslim astronomers also prepared the star maps to preserve the old astronomical knowledge and to use them as aid to travel navigation and meteorology. Astronomer
Ibrahim ibn Habib al-Fazari was the first Muslim who constructed astrolabes . He composed a poem on astrology, and compiled a (calendar) according to the Arab method. He also wrote on the use of astrolabes and on the armillary spheres.
During the time of Khaleefah al-Ma'mun the important work of translation of Ptolemy's Almagest from Greek into Arabic was completed: Khaleefah al-Ma 'rnun (786 - 833 CE) built an observatory In Baghdad in his Bayt al-Hikmah and another in the plains of Tadmor".
More original and improved work was done in the second half of the 10th century CEo The elaboration of trigonometry, arch was considered to be a branch of astronomy at that time , was  also continued. Great attention was paid to the construction of good astronomical instruments, especially to the spherical astrolabe which was newly introduced at that time. Hamid ibn 'Ali and 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan al-Battani were famous makers of astrolabes. 
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