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Astronomy

List of Indian Astronomers

Name

Year

Contributions

Lagadha

1st  BCE

The earliest astronomical textnamed Vedānga Jyotisya details several astronomical attributes generally applied for timing social and religious events.

The Vedānga Jyotisya also details astronomical calculations, calendrical studies, and establishes rules for empirical observation.

Aryabhata

476550 CE

Aryabhata was the author of the Āryabhatīya and the Aryabhatasiddhanta, had a profound influence on the development of Islamic astronomy. Its contents are preserved to some extent in the works of Varahamihira, Bhaskara I, Brahmagupta, and others.

  1. It is one of the earliest astronomical works to assign the start of each day to midnight.
  2. Aryabhata explicitly mentioned that the earth rotates about its axis, thereby causing what appears to be an apparent westward motion of the stars.
  3. Aryabhata also mentioned that reflected sunlight is the cause behind the shining of the moon.

Brahmagupta

598668 CE

Brahmasphuta-siddhanta(Correctly Established Doctrine of Brahma, 628 CE) dealt with both Indian mathematics and astronomy.

  1. Brahmagupta calculated the instantaneous motion of a planet, gave correct equations for parallax, and some information related to the computation of eclipses.
  2. His works introduced Indian concept of mathematics based astronomy into the Arab world.
  3. He also theorized that all bodies with mass are attracted to the earth.

Varāhamihira

505 CE

Varāhamihira was an astronomer and mathematician who studied and Indian astronomy as well as the many principles of Greek, Egyptian, and Roman astronomical sciences. His Pañcasiddhāntikā is a treatise and compendium drawing from several knowledge systems.

Bhāskara I

629 CE

Authored the astronomical works

  1. Mahabhaskariya(Great Book of Bhaskara),
  2. Laghubhaskariya(Small Book of Bhaskara), and
  3. Aryabhatiyabhashya(a commentary on the Āryabhatīya written by Aryabhata).

Planetary longitudes, heliacal rising and setting of the planets, conjunctions among the planets and stars, solar and lunar eclipses, and the phases of the Moon are among the topics Bhaskara discusses in his astronomical treatises.

Lalla

8th CE

Author of the Śisyadhīvrddhida(Treatise Which Expands the Intellect of Students), which corrects several assumptions of Āryabhata.

The Śisyadhīvrddhida of Lalla itself is divided into  two parts: Grahādhyāya and Golādhyāya.

  1. Grahādhyāya (Chapter I-XIII) deals with planetary calculations, determination of the mean and true planets, three problems pertaining to diurnal motion of Earth, eclipses, rising and setting of the planets, the various cusps of the moon, planetary and astral conjunctions, and complementary situations of the sun and the moon.
  2. Golādhyāya (chapter XIVXXII)deals with graphical representation of planetary motion, astronomical instruments, spheres, and emphasizes on corrections and rejection of flawed principles.

Lalla also authored the Siddhāntatilaka.

Bhāskara II

1114 CE

Authored Siddhāntaśiromani(Head Jewel of Accuracy) and Karanakutūhala(Calculation of Astronomical Wonders) and reported on his observations of planetary positions, conjunctions, eclipses, cosmography, geography, mathematics, and astronomical equipment used in his research at the observatory in Ujjain, which he headed.

Śrīpati

1045 CE

Śrīpati was an astronomer and mathematician who followed the Brahmagupta school and authored the Siddhāntaśekhara(The Crest of Established Doctrines) in 20 chapters, thereby introducing several new concepts, including moon's second inequity.

Mahendra Suri

14th  CE

Mahendra Suri authored the Yantra-rāja(The King of Instruments, written in 1370 CE)a Sanskrit work on the astrolabe, itself introduced in India during the reign of the 14th century Tughlaq dynasty.

  1. Presents a fundamental formula along with a numerical table for drawing an astrolabe although the proof itself has not been detailed.
  2. Longitudes of 32 stars as well as their latitudes have also been mentioned.
  3. Mahendra Suri also explained the Gnomon, equatorial co-ordinates, and elliptical co-ordinates.

Nilakanthan Somayaji

14441544 CE

Revised Aryabhata's model for the planets Mercury and Venus. His equation of the centre for these planets remained the most accurate until the time of Johannes Kepler in the 17th century.

Nilakanthan Somayaji, in his Aryabhatiyabhashya, a commentary on Aryabhata's Āryabhatīya, developed his own computational system for a partially heliocentric planetary model.

He also authored a treatise titled Jyotirmimamsa stressing the necessity and importance of astronomical observations to obtain correct parameters for computations.

Acyuta Pisārati

15501621 CE

Sphutanirnaya(Determination of True Planets) details an elliptical correction to existing notions.

His another work, Karanottama deals with eclipses, complementary relationship between the sun and the moon, and 'the derivation of the mean and true planets'.

In Uparāgakriyākrama(Method of Computing Eclipses), Acyuta Pisārati suggests improvements in methods of calculation of eclipses.