A Tentative Astronomical Dating of Ibn al-Haytham’s Solar Eclipse Record

in Nuncius
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

This article aims to test a new method of dating optico-astronomical manuscripts, using Ibn al-Haytham’s Epistle on the Shape of the Eclipse as the test case. This work is selected because of indications that its diagrams are based on reality. After clarifying the observation conditions, an astronomical ephemeris is applied to sift through the eclipses that occurred during Ibn al-Haytham’s life throughout the area he is believed to have sojourned. Next, the remaining eclipses are sorted by computing the image projection. The results show that Ibn al-Haytham’s Epistle is likely to have reported the partial solar eclipse of 28 Rajab AH380/21 October 990 in Baṣra. Because this exercise is primarily the test of a new method, this finding should be regarded as a tentative outcome, pending further information.

Nuncius

Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science (Formerly: Annali dell'Istituto e Museo di storia della scienza di Firenze)

Sections

References

4

F. Richard Stephenson and Said S. Said, “Precision of Medieval Islamic Eclipse Measurements,” Journal for the History of Astronomy, 1991, 22:195–207.

9

John M. Steele, “A Re-Analysis of the Eclipse Observations in Ptolemy’s Almagest,” Centaurus, 2000, 42:89–108. F. Richard Stephenson, John M. Steele, “Astronomical Dating of Babylonian Texts Describing the Total Solar Eclipse of S.E. 175,” Journal for the History of Astronomy, 2006, 37:55–69.

14

Roshdi Rashed, Geometry and Dioptrics in Classical Islam (London: al-Furqān, 2005), p. 15.

37

Boris A. Rozenfeld, “A Medieval Physico-Mathematical Manuscript Newly Discovered in the Kuibyshev Regional Library,” Historia Mathematica, 1975, 2:67–69; “The List of Physico-Mathematical Works of Ibn al-Haytham Written by Himself,” Historia Mathematica, 1976, 3:75–76.

43

Ibn ʿAsākir, Tāʾrīkh Dimashq (History of Damascus) (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 2000), Vol. 75, s.v.

45

Max Meyerhof, “ʿAlī al-Bayhaqī’s Tatimmat Ṣiwān al-Ḥikma. A Biographical Work on Learned Men of the Islam,” Osiris, 1948, 8:122–217, p. 155; Sabra, Optics (cit. note 7), p. xxxi; Rashed, Mathématiques infinitésimales (cit. note 10), p. 4.

47

Louis Massignon, “Explication du plan de Baṣra, Irak,” Opera Minora, edited by Youakim Moubarac, Vol. III (Beirut: Dar al-Maaref, 1963), pp. 61–87.

48

Aydın Sayılı, The Observatory in Islam and its Place in the General History of the Observatory (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1960), pp. 53–55; Marie-Geneviève Balty-Guesdon, “Le Bayt al-Ḥikma de Baghdad,” Arabica, 1992, 39:131–150, pp. 132–138.

49

George Makdisi, “The Topography of Eleventh Century Baġdād,” Arabica, 1959, 6: 178–197, p. 186.

57

J. Len Berggren, “The Correspondence of Abū Sahl al-Kūhī and Abū Isḥāq al-Sābī. A Translation with Commentaries,” Journal for History of Arabic Science, 1983, 7:39–123, p. 72.

59

For such criticism: Donovan A. Courville, “Limitation of Astronomical Dating Methods,” Kronos, 1975, 2:49–72; John M. Steele, “The Use and Abuse of Astronomy in Establishing Ancient Chronologies,” Physics in Canada, 2003, 59:243–248; Douglas J. Keenan, “Astro-Historiographic Chronologies of Early China Are Unfounded,” East Asian History, 2002, 32:61–68; reply in David W. Pankenier, “Caveat Lector: Comments on Douglas J. Keenan,” Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 2007, 10:137–141.

Figures

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 12 12 7
Full Text Views 8 8 8
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0