Aryabhatta Astronomy

Astronomy Aryabhata’s system of astronomy was called the audAyaka system, in which days are reckoned from uday, dawn at lanka or “equator”. Some of his later writings on astronomy, which apparently proposed a second model (or ardha-rAtrikA, midnight) are lost but can be partly reconstructed from the discussion in Brahmagupta’s khanDakhAdyaka. In some texts, he seems to ascribe the apparent motions of the heavens to the Earth’s rotation. He may have believed that the planet’s orbits as elliptical rather than circular. Motions of the solar system Aryabhata correctly insisted that the earth rotates about its axis daily, and that the apparent movement of the stars is a relative motion caused by the rotation of the earth, contrary to the then-prevailing view, that the sky rotated. This is indicated in the first chapter of the Aryabhatiya, where he gives the number of rotations of the earth in a yuga, and made more explicit in his gola chapter: In the same way that someone in a boat going forward sees an unmoving [object] going backward, so [someone] on the equator sees the unmoving stars going uniformly westward. The cause of rising and setting [is that] the sphere of the stars together with the planets [apparently?] turns due west at the equator, constantly pushed by the cosmic wind. Aryabhata described a geocentric model of the solar system, in which the Sun and Moon are each carried by epicycles. They in turn revolve around the Earth. In this model, which is also found in the Paitāmahasiddhānta (c. CE 425), the motions of the planets are each governed by two epicycles, a smaller manda (slow) and a larger śīghra (fast).  The order of the planets in terms of distance from earth is taken as: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the asterisms.” The positions and periods of the planets was calculated relative to uniformly moving points. In the case of Mercury and Venus, they move around the Earth at the same mean speed as the Sun. In the case of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, they move around the Earth at specific speeds, representing each planet’s motion through the zodiac. Most historians of astronomy consider that this two-epicycle model reflects elements of pre-Ptolemaic Greek astronomy. Another element in Aryabhata’s model, the śīghrocca, the basic planetary period in relation to the Sun, is seen by some historians as a sign of an underlying heliocentric model.

to be continue…….


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