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Encyclopedia > Aristarchus of Samos
Statue of Aristarchus at Aristotle University in Thessalonica, Greece
Statue of Aristarchus at Aristotle University in Thessalonica, Greece

Aristarchus (Greek: Ἀρίσταρχος; 310 BC - ca. 230 BC) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born on the island of Samos, in ancient Greece. He was the first person to present an explicit argument for a heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe (hence he is sometimes known as the "Greek Copernicus"). He was influenced by his teacher, the pythagorean Philolaus of Kroton, but in contrast to Philolaus he had both identified the central fire with the Sun, as well as putting other planets in correct order from the Sun. His astronomical ideas were rejected in favor of the geocentric theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy until they were successfully revived and extensively developed by Copernicus nearly 2000 years later. Aristarchus of Samothrace, Gr. ... Statue of Aristarchus at Aristoteles University in Thessaloniki, Greece Aristarchus (310 BC - circa 230 BC) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born in Samos, Greece. ... Image File history File links Aristarchos_Samos. ... Image File history File links Aristarchos_Samos. ... The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (often referred to in English as Aristotelian University), named after the philosopher Aristotle, is the largest university of Greece. ... Thessaloniki or Salonica (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη) is Greeces second-largest city and the capital of Macedonia. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC Years: 315 BC 314 BC 313 BC 312 BC 311 BC _ 310 BC _ 309 BC... Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC 240s BC - 230s BC - 220s BC 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC Years: 235 BC 234 BC 233 BC 232 BC 231 BC - 230 BC - 229 BC 228 BC... An astronomer or astrophysicist is a person whose area of interest is astronomy or astrophysics. ... Leonhard Euler, considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study and research is the field of mathematics. ... Samos (Greek Σάμος) is a Greek island in the Eastern Aegean Sea, located between the island of Chios to the North and the archipelagic complex of the Dodecanese islands to the South and in particular the island of Patmos and off the coast of Turkey, on what was formely known as... Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around nine hundred years. ... Heliocentric Solar System Heliocentrism (lower panel) in comparison to the geocentric model (upper panel) In astronomy, heliocentrism is the theory that the sun is at the centre of the Universe and/or the Solar System. ... This article is about the Solar System. ... Sol redirects here. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... Nicolaus Copernicus (in Latin; Polish Mikołaj Kopernik, German Nikolaus Kopernikus - February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer, mathematician and economist who developed a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful. ... Bust of Pythagoras Pythagoreanism is a term used for the esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were much influenced by mathematics and probably a main inspirational source for Plato and platonism. ... Philolaus (circa 480 BC – circa 405 BC) was a Greek mathematician and philosopher. ... This article is about the historical term. ... Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... A medieval artists rendition of Claudius Ptolemaeus Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: ; ca. ... Nicolaus Copernicus (in Latin; Polish Mikołaj Kopernik, German Nikolaus Kopernikus - February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer, mathematician and economist who developed a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful. ...


The Aristarchus crater on the Moon was named in his honour. Aristarchus is a prominent lunar impact crater that lies in the northwest part of the Moons near side. ... This article is about Earths moon. ...

Contents

Heliocentrism

The only work usually attributed to Aristarchus which has survived to the present time, On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, is based on a geocentric world view. It is peculiar and possibly informative that this work reckons the sun's diameter as 2 degrees, rather the correct value, 1/2 degree. The latter diameter is known from Archimedes to have been Aristarchus's actual value. Aristarchuss 3rd century BC calculations on the relative sizes of the Earth, Sun and Moon, from a 10th century CE Greek copy On the Sizes and Distances [of the Sun and Moon] is the only extant work written by Aristarchus of Samos, an ancient Greek astronomer who lived circa... A world view (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung (pronounced ) Welt is the German word for world, and Anschauung is the German word for view or outlook. It implies a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. ...


Though the original text has been lost, a reference in Archimedes' book The Sand Reckoner describes another work by Aristarchus in which he advanced an alternative hypothesis of the heliocentric model. Archimedes wrote: (translated into English) Archimedes of Syracuse (Greek: c. ... The Sand Reckoner (Greek: Ψαμμίτης, Psammites) is a work by Archimedes in which he set out to determine an upper bound for the number of grains of sand that fit into the universe. ... Look up Hypothesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

You King Gelon are aware the 'universe' is the name given by most astronomers to the sphere the center of which is the center of the Earth, while its radius is equal to the straight line between the center of the Sun and the center of the Earth. This is the common account as you have heard from astronomers. But Aristarchus has brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses, wherein it appears, as a consequence of the assumptions made, that the universe is many times greater than the 'universe' just mentioned. His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun on the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and th
at the sphere of fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface. STAR is an acronym for: Organizations Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers], the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticket industry in the UK. Society for Telescopy, Astronomy, and Radio, a non-profit New Jersey astronomy club. ...

Aristarchus thus believed the stars to be very far away, and saw this as the reason why there was no visible parallax, that is, an observed movement of the stars relative to each other as the Earth moved around the Sun. The stars are in fact much farther away than the distance that was assumed in ancient times, which is why stellar parallax is only detectable with telescopes. But the awkwardly complex geocentric model, designed to evade recognition of plainly visible planetary parallax, was assumed to be a more comfortable explanation for the unobservability of the parallel phenomenon, stellar parallax. The rejection of the heliocentric view was apparently quite strong, as the following passage from Plutarch suggests (On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon): This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the historical term. ... Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Πλούταρχος; 46 - 127), better known in English as Plutarch, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist. ...

Cleanthes [a contemporary of Aristarchus and head of the Stoics] thought it was the duty of the Greeks to indict Aristarchus of Samos on the charge of impiety for putting in motion the Hearth of the universe [i.e. the earth], . . . supposing the heaven to remain at rest and the earth to revolve in an oblique circle, while it rotates, at the same time, about its own axis.[1] Cleanthes (c. ...

His hypothesis no longer fit the Greek conceptual system, which had left the speculative period and entered a more authoritative phase. He was struck by a problem that would trickle through the entire history of philosophy – the tension between conservatism and revolution, between what is regarded as certain knowledge and what is regarded as unknowable. The most earnest discussions along these lines within modern epistemology have been entertained by Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend and lately also by the Swedish philosopher Sören Halldén (2005). The pioneering giant Aristarchus's ideas fell into oblivion because they led away from the main-stream that had already been laid down by the less perceptive school forming "giants" of philosophy, Plato and Aristotle. The only other astronomer from antiquity who is known by name and who is known to have supported Aristarchus' heliocentric model was Seleucus of Seleucia, a Mesopotamian astronomer who lived a century after Aristarchus. Look up Hypothesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A conceptual system is a system that is comprised of non-physical objects, i. ... The history of philosophy is the study of philosophical ideas and concepts through time. ... Ths article deals with conservatism as a political philosophy. ... For other uses, see Revolution (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ... Thomas Samuel Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American intellectual who wrote extensively on the history of science and developed several important notions in the philosophy of science. ... Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, FRS, FBA, (July 28, 1902 – September 17, 1994), was an Austrian and British[1] philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. ... Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) was a philosopher of mathematics and science. ... Paul Karl Feyerabend (January 13, 1924 – February 11, 1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades (1958-1989). ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Seleucus (or Seleukos) of Seleucia (born circa 190 BC - ?) was a Greek philosopher. ... Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomy that developed in Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, where the ancient kingdoms of Sumer, Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldea were located. ...


Distance to the Sun

Aristarchus claimed to have observed that at half moon (first or last quarter moon), the angle between sun and moon was 87°. Using correct geometry, but insufficiently accurate observational data, Aristarchus concluded that the Sun was 19 times farther away than the Moon. (The true value of this angle is close to 89° 50', and the Sun is actually about 390 times farther away.) The implicit false solar parallax of slightly under 3' was used by astronomers up to and including Brahe, ca. 1600 A. D. Aristarchus pointed out that the Moon and Sun have nearly equal apparent angular sizes and therefore their diameters must be in proportion to their distances from Earth. He thus concluded that the diameter of the Sun was 20 times larger than the diameter of the Moon; which, although wrong, follows logically from his data. It also leads to the conclusion that the Sun's diameter is almost seven times greater than the Earth's; the volume of Aristarchus's Sun would be almost 300 times greater than the Earth. Perhaps this difference in sizes inspired the heliocentric model. Aristarchuss 3rd century BC calculations on the relative sizes of the Earth, Sun and Moon, from a 10th century CE Greek copy On the Sizes and Distances [of the Sun and Moon] is the only extant work written by Aristarchus of Samos, an ancient Greek astronomer who lived circa... Lunar phase refers to the appearance of the illuminated portion of the Moon as seen by an observer, usually on Earth. ... Calabi-Yau manifold Geometry (Greek γεωμετρία; geo = earth, metria = measure) is a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, and relative position of figures and with properties of space. ... ∠, the angle symbol. ...


The Great Year and the First High Precision Estimate of the Length of the Month

Admired by Archimedes and by modern scientists for having the vision to be the first to propose a huge universe, Aristarchus also proposed the largest ancient Greek time period, his well-known "Great Year" of 4868 solar years, equalling exactly 270 saroi, each of 18 Callippic years plus 10 and 2/3 degrees. (Syntaxis book 4 chapter 2.) Its empirical foundation was the famous, usefully stable 4267 month eclipse cycle, cited by Ptolemy as source of the extremely accurate Babylonian month, which was good to a fraction of a second (1 part in several million), and is found on cuneiform tablets from shortly before 200 B. C. (Due to near integral returns in lunar and solar anomaly, eclipses 4267 months apart exceptionally never deviated by more than an hour from a mean of 126007 days plus 1 hour, the value given by Ptolemy at op cit. Thus, estimation of the length of the month was ensured to have relative accuracy of 1 part in millions.) Embedded in the Great Year was a length of the month agreeing with the Babylonian value to 1 part in tens of millions, decades before Babylon is known to have used it. Aristarchus's work represents an advance of science in several respects. Previous estimates of the length of the month were in error by 114 seconds (Meton, 432 B. C.) and 22 seconds (Callippus, 330 B. C.). The attribution of a reliable mean motion to so complex a motion as the moon's was a remarkable conceptual leap. Meton of Athens was a mathematician, astronomer and engineer who lived in Athens in the 5th century BCE. He is best known for the 19-year Metonic Cycle which he introduced into the Athenian luni-solar calendar as a method of calculating dates. ... Calippus of Syracuse Callippus (or Calippus) (ca. ...


Precession

The Vatican has preserved two ancient manuscripts of estimates of the length of the year. The only ancient scientist listed for two different values is Aristarchus. It is now widely suspected that these are among the earliest surviving examples of continued fraction expressions. The most obvious interpretations are precisely computable from the manuscript numbers. The results are Aristarchus years of 365 days plus 1/152, and 365 days minus 15/4868, representing the sidereal year and the civil, supposedly tropical year. Both denominators are relatable to Aristarchus, whose summer solstice was 152 years after Meton's and whose Great Year was 4868 years. The difference between the sidereal and tropical year is identical to precession. The former value is accurate within a few seconds. The latter is erroneous by several minutes. Both are close to the values later used by Hipparchus and Ptolemy, and the precession indicated is almost precisely 1 degree per century, a much-too-low value. Unfortunately, 1 degree per century precession was used by all later astronomers until the Arabs. The correct value in Aristarchus's time was about 1.38 degrees per century. In mathematics, a continued fraction is an expression such as where a0 is some integer and all the other numbers an are positive integers. ... Meton of Athens was a mathematician, astronomer and engineer who lived in Athens in the 5th century BCE. He is best known for the 19-year Metonic Cycle which he introduced into the Athenian luni-solar calendar as a method of calculating dates. ... The precession of Earths axis of rotation with respect to inertial space is also called the precession of the equinoxes. ... For the Athenian tyrant, see Hipparchus (son of Pisistratus). ... A medieval artists rendition of Claudius Ptolemaeus Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: ; ca. ...


External links

The MacTutor history of mathematics archive is a website hosted by University of St Andrews in Scotland. ...

References

  • Heath, Sir Thomas. Aristarchus of Samos - The Ancient Copernicus, A history of Greek astronomy to Aristarchus together with Aristarchus' treatise on the sizes and distances of the sun and moon, a new Greek text with translation and notes. (ISBN 0-486-43886-4)

Sir Thomas Little Heath (October 5, 1861 - March 16, 1940) was a mathematician, classical scholar, historian of ancient Greek mathematics, and translator. ...

Further reading

The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is a reference work consisting of extensive biographies of scientists from antiquity to modern times, excluding scientists who were alive when the Dictionary was first put out. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Aristarchus (1003 words)
Aristarchus of Samos, often referred to as the Copernicus of antiquity, laid the foundation for much scientific examination of the heavens.
Aristarchus determined that at this precise moment the angular separation between the moon and the sun, that is, the angle from Moon to Earth to Sun, is equal to 87 degrees, as he stated in his fourth hypothesis.
In terms of heliocentricity or the movement of the earth, the only person to follow Aristarchus' philosophy was Seleucus, who in 150 BC attributed the ocean tides to the stirring of air caused by the rotation of the earth and its interaction with the revolution of the moon.
History of Samos (1379 words)
Samos reached its pinnacle during the period it was governed by the tyrant Polycrates (546 - 522 BC).
Samos which constituted the bridge between Greece and East, managed for many years, because of its power, to remain independent, while at the same time flourishing, despite the battles that were waged to conquer it.
The modern culture of Samos impressed on the traditional built-up areas, the extraordinary churches, most of which were build during the 18th and 19th century, the 16th century monasteries, the impressive neoclassical buildings, the tanneries at Karlovasi, tobacco factories and wine-stores that also indicate the main activities of its inhabitants.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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