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Ancient Indian Astronomy

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Ancient Indian Astronomy Hindu calendar Brahma lives 100 years (Brahman years, not human years) One Kalpa coincides with one Day of Brahma s life. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ancient Indian Astronomy


1
Ancient Indian Astronomy
2
Hindu calendar
  • Brahma lives 100 years (Brahman years, not human
    years)
  • One Kalpa coincides with one Day of Brahmas
    life.
  • One Kalpa corresponds to 4,320,000,000 earthly
    years.
  • Earthly time is divided into Yuga, or Ages which
    are
  • Krita ( or Satya ) Yuga 4,800 years
  • Treta-Yuga 3,600 years
  • Dwapara-Yuga 2,400 years
  • Kali-Yuga 1,200 years

3
Calendar
  • For a total of 12,000 years.
  • The four Yuga make one Mahayuga
  • The 12,000 years must be multiplied by 360, the
    days of the human year
  • 12,000 x 360 4,320,000 years
  • Every Kalpa has 1000 cycles of four Yuga
  • 4,320,000 x 1000 4,320,000,000 years

4
Astronomers
  • Varahamihira (500CE)
  • described the Earth as spherical and as being
    suspended in space
  • Used latitude and longitude
  • Described the stars as fixed and gave the
    planets a constant speed.

5
Astronomers
  • Aryabhata I (500CE)
  • Heliocentric (somewhat) idea
  • 1000 years before Copernicus and Galileo
  • Described methods of eclipse prediction.
  • Codified many trigonometric laws.
  • Sin tables
  • Value of pi
  • Knew of most of the planets (at least 7) without
    a telescope

6
Astronomers
  • Brahmagupta (600CE)
  • Estimated the Earths circumference as 5000
    yojanas (yojana 4.5 miles) Surprisingly
    accurate! (off by less than 10)
  • Devacharya (600CE)
  • First astronomer to describe a method for
    calculating the precession of the eqinoxes

7
The Planets
  • Hindu astronomers used epicycles (like Ptolemy)
    to describe the motion of the planets in a
    geocentric solar system.
  • Epicycles are necessary to account for retrograde
    motion.
  • Aditya the Sun
  • Son of Aditi (the unchangeable)
  • Soma the Moon
  • Peace, gentleness

8
The Planets
  • Budha Mercury
  • Intellect
  • Shukra Venus
  • Refined, sensual
  • Ankgaraka Mars
  • Burning coal
  • Brihaspati Jupiter
  • Great protector
  • Shani Saturn
  • Slow

9
Interesting Notes
  • Hindu texts speak of Pravaha, a celestial wind,
    the force that moves the planets.
  • There is a famous Sanskrit saying when translated
    means, In all directions, Sun, Sun, Sun.
  • Seems to be suggesting that all the stars are
    suns, just further away
  • Olbers paradox long before Olbers!

10
Invasion!
  • With the invasion of the Moghuls, astronomy in
    India did not advance for some time.
  • Think of what might have been achieved

11
Controversy
  • Throughout history some scholars have been
    determined to prove that these ideas and theories
    could not have originated in India
  • 19th century notion that India did not have
    observational astronomy.

12
Controversy
  • More than 30 years ago, Roger Billard analyzed
    ancient calculations which were to predict the
    position of planets
  • Compared to modern theory, they were surprisingly
    accurate!
  • Aryabhatas constants are more accurate than the
    Wests at that time
  • Not this advanced in Babylonia
  • Cannot be from Babylonia!
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