Al sufi book of fixed stars pdf

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The familiar seven stars of the “Big Dipper”, recorded by Ptolemy, are visible in the rump and tail, but notice they occur as a mirror-image of what we actually see because Al Sufi provided two images of each constellation, one as we see it in the night sky and one as seen here on a celestial globe. The image is from the copy in the Bodleian Library, the oldest copy extant. The book was written in Arabic, although al sufi book of fixed stars pdf author himself was Persian.


Arabic astronomical traditions on the constellations. His results, as in Ptolemy’s Almagest, were set out constellation by constellation. For each constellation, he provided two drawings, one from the outside of a celestial globe, and the other from the inside.

The work was highly influential and survives in numerous manuscripts and translations. The oldest manuscript, kept in the Bodleian Library, dates to 1009 and is the work of the author’s son. Two pages from an Iraqi 12th-century manuscript of the Book of Fixed Stars in the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.

He has the earliest known descriptions and illustrations of what he called “a little cloud”, which is actually the Andromeda Galaxy. He mentions it as lying before the mouth of a Big Fish, an Arabic constellation.

This “cloud” was apparently commonly known to the Isfahan astronomers, very probably before 905. The first recorded mention of the Large Magellanic Cloud was also given in the Book of Fixed Stars. These were the first galaxies other than the Milky Way to be observed from Earth.

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