The Enigma of Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars

  title={The Enigma of Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars},
  author={N. Swerdlow},
  journal={Journal for the History of Astronomy},
  pages={173 - 183}
  • N. Swerdlow
  • Published 1992
  • Physics
  • Journal for the History of Astronomy
On the right side of Raphael's School of Athens are two figures representing geography and astronomy. One, a young man with his back to the viewer wearing a crown and holding a terrestrial globe, is Ptolemy, and the other, an older bearded man holding a celestial globe, is Hipparchus. (Following Vasari, who also confuses the two figures, art historians usually identify the latter figure as "Zoroaster", but historians of astronomy know better.) It is not surprising that Ptolemy should hold a… Expand
10 Citations
Rounding numbers: Ptolemy’s calculation of the Earth–Sun distance
In this article, I analyze the coincidence of the prediction of the Earth–Sun distance carried out by Ptolemy in his Almagest and the one he carried out, with another method, in the PlanetaryExpand
Dating the Almagest Star Catalogue Using Proper Motions: A Reconsideration
When considering star catalogues, either modem or ancient, it is useful to distinguish between the dates of the actual star position measurements, which might range over many months or even years,Expand
The Investigation of Stars, Star Clusters and Nebulae in 'Abd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī’s Book of the Fixed Stars
'Abd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī (AD 903–986) is justly famous for his Book of the Fixed Stars. This is an outstanding Medieval treatise on astronomy that was written in AD 964. This work was developed fromExpand
The Measurement Method of the Almagest Stars
I suggest that the correct standard model of early Greek stellar astronomy is A. Someone, perhaps Hipparchus, measured a fairly complete star catalog in equatorial coordinates. B. That catalog wasExpand
Associations Between the Ancient Star Catalogues
A travers l'etude de l'Almageste de Ptolemee et du Commentaire aux Phenomenes d'Aratos d'Hipparque, l'auteur revient sur les points communs residant dans la retranscription de certaines donneesExpand
Dating Ptolemy's Star Catalogue through Proper Motions: The Hipparchan Epoch
Cet article a pour theme la polemique a propos de la datation des releves d'etoiles de Ptolemee et l'explication des erreurs des longitudes des etoiles...
The Depth of Association between the Ancient Star Catalogues
Les premieres sources de donnees stellaires proviennent de Ptolemee et Hipparche et contiennent chacune des erreurs qui ont ete correlees et ont fait l'objet d'une etude statistique et systemique
Saving the Phenomena: The Background to Ptolemy's Planetary Theory
Le terme phenomene utilise en astronomie est analyse afin de demontrer s'il y a eu des changements significatifs depuis la theorie planetaire de Ptolemee
On Ptolemy's Table for the Equation of Time
Une analyse mathematique a ete effectuee, a partir des tables astronomiques de Ptolemee, pour determiner l'equation du temps, a partir d'un cadran solaire
’Abd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī’s 3-Step Magnitude System
'Abd al-Raḥmān al-ḥūfī’s Book of the Fixed Stars dates from around AD 964 and is one of the most important medieval Arabic treatises on astronomy. In this paper we begin with a very briefExpand


On the Origin of the Ptolemaic Star Catalogue: Part 1
The origin of the catalogue of stars found in Books 7 and 8 of Ptolemy's Almagest is a problem that has long vexed both astronomers and historians of science. Ptolemy says rather plainly that heExpand
An Analysis of Errors in the Star Catalogues of Ptolemy and Ulugh Beg
The main peculiarity of Ptolemy's catalogue is the mean systematic error in the longitudes of the stars exceeding 1 • Many astronomers, in a European tradition going back to Tycho Brahe, I haveExpand
Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars
JUST forty years ago the late Prof. Peters, of Clinton, New York, and Mr. Knobel began independently, and without either of them knowing of the other's work, to investigate the Catalogue of Stars inExpand
Various tests are applied to Claudius Ptolemy's long-suspect claim that he himself observed the more than 1000 objects in the Ancient Star Catalog. An obvious consequence of observing under theExpand
The History of Ptolemy’s Star Catalogue
Contents: Introduction.- The Stars of the Almagest.- Accusations.- The Rehabilitation of Ptolemy.- The Analysis of the Star Catalogue.- Structures in Ptolemy's Star Catalogue.- Theory andExpand
Observing with the Armillary Astrolabe
In this paper I investigate the merits and limitations of the armillary astrolabe,' which served for direct observations of the ecliptic longitudes and latitudes of the heavenly bodies from AntiquityExpand
Exposition du Systeme du Monde.
1. Des mouvemens apparens des corps celestes 2. Des mouvemens reels des corps celestes 3. Des loix du mouvement 4. De la theorie de la pesanteur universelle 5. Precis de l'histoire de l'Astronomie.
An analysis oferrors in the star catalogues of Ptolemy and Ulugh Beg", ibid., xxi
  • 1990
Observing with the armillary astrolabe", ibid., xviii (1987),173-95
  • 1987