Aristyllus (Greek : Ἀρίστυλλος; fl. c. 261 BC) was a Greek astronomer, presumably of the school of Timocharis (c. 300 BC). He was among the earliest meridian-astronomy observers. Six of his stellar declinations are preserved at Almajest 7.3. All are exactly correct within his over-cautious rounding to 1/4 degree. See discussion (and lessons) at DIO 7.1 ‡1 p. 13 (2007).
Aristyllus was long mis-dated to c. 300 BC (which made his data look among the poorest of the ancients); but when his correct date was found by least-squares (Isis 73:259-265  p. 263), it was realized that his star declinations' accuracy was unexcelled in antiquity. His data suggest that he worked in Alexandria: see DIO 4.1 ‡3 Table 3 p. 45 (2004).
A lunar crater, Aristillus, aptly near the Moon's meridian and at a lunar latitude roughly equal to the terrestrial latitude of Alexandria, is named after him.
"Aristyllus was an early astronomer in the school of Alexandria. Little is known about him. He made astronomical observations during the first half of the third century BCE, and was probably a pupil of Timocharis."
"Aristyllus and Timocharis are usually considered to have compiled the first true catalog of the fixed stars, in which stars are identified by numerical measurements of their positions."
"Aristyllus, a Greek astronomer, who appears to have lived about B.C. 233. He wrote a work on the fixed stars (τηρήσις ἀπλανῶν), which was used by Hipparchus and Ptolemy, and he is undoubtedly one of the two persons of this name who wrote commentaries on Aratus."
In astronomy, declination is one of the two angles that locate a point on the celestial sphere in the equatorial coordinate system, the other being hour angle. Declination's angle is measured north or south of the celestial equator, along the hour circle passing through the point in question.
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes.
Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to antiquity, with its origins in the religious, mythological, cosmological, calendrical, and astrological beliefs and practices of prehistory: vestiges of these are still found in astrology, a discipline long interwoven with public and governmental astronomy. It was not completely separated in Europe during the Copernican Revolution starting in 1543. In some cultures, astronomical data was used for astrological prognostication. The study of astronomy has received financial and social support from many institutions, especially the Church, which was its largest source of support between the 12th century to the Enlightenment.
Longitude, is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the Earth's surface, or the surface of a celestial body. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees and denoted by the Greek letter lambda (λ). Meridians connect points with the same longitude. The prime meridian, which passes near the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England, is defined as 0° longitude by convention. Positive longitudes are east of the prime meridian, and negative ones are west.
Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, geographer and astrologer who wrote several scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to later Byzantine, Islamic and Western European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was originally entitled the Mathematical Treatise and then known as The Great Treatise. The second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day. This is sometimes known as the Apotelesmatiká (Ἀποτελεσματικά) but more commonly known as the Tetrábiblos from the Koine Greek (Τετράβιβλος) meaning "Four Books" or by the Latin Quadripartitum.
A star catalogue or star catalog, is an astronomical catalogue that lists stars. In astronomy, many stars are referred to simply by catalogue numbers. There are a great many different star catalogues which have been produced for different purposes over the years, and this article covers only some of the more frequently quoted ones. Star catalogues were compiled by many different ancient people, including the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Arabs. They were sometimes accompanied by a star chart for illustration. Most modern catalogues are available in electronic format and can be freely downloaded from space agencies' data centres. The largest is being compiled from the spacecraft Gaia and thus far has over a billion stars.
The zodiac is an area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets are also within the belt of the zodiac.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek polymath: a mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. His work is comparable to what is now known as the study of geography, and he introduced some of the terminology still used today.
In astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow, and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In particular, it can refer to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years. This is similar to the precession of a spinning top, with the axis tracing out a pair of cones joined at their apices. The term "precession" typically refers only to this largest part of the motion; other changes in the alignment of Earth's axis—nutation and polar motion—are much smaller in magnitude.
Aristarchus of Samos was an ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician who presented the first known heliocentric model that placed the Sun at the center of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. He was influenced by Philolaus of Croton, but Aristarchus identified the "central fire" with the Sun, and he put the other planets in their correct order of distance around the Sun. Like Anaxagoras before him, he suspected that the stars were just other bodies like the Sun, albeit farther away from Earth. His astronomical ideas were often rejected in favor of the geocentric theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Nicolaus Copernicus attributed the heliocentric theory to Aristarchus.
The Almagest is a 2nd-century Greek-language mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths, written by Claudius Ptolemy. One of the most influential scientific texts of all time, it canonized a geocentric model of the Universe that was accepted for more than 1200 years from its origin in Hellenistic Alexandria, in the medieval Byzantine and Islamic worlds, and in Western Europe through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance until Copernicus. It is also a key source of information about ancient Greek astronomy.
An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky, consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth or the Sun, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features, such as the ecliptic. As such, it differs from a celestial globe, which is a smooth sphere whose principal purpose is to map the constellations. It was invented separately in ancient Greece and ancient China, with later use in the Islamic world and Medieval Europe.
Timocharis of Alexandria was a Greek astronomer and philosopher. Likely born in Alexandria, he was a contemporary of Euclid.
'Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (Persian: عبدالرحمن صوفی was a Persian astronomer also known as 'Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi, 'Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn, 'Abdul Rahman Sufi, or 'Abdurrahman Sufi and, historically, in the West as Azophi and Azophi Arabus. The lunar crater Azophi and the minor planet 12621 Alsufi are named after him. Al-Sufi published his famous Book of Fixed Stars in 964, describing much of his work, both in textual descriptions and pictures. Al-Biruni reports that his work on the ecliptic was carried out in Shiraz. He lived at the Buyid court in Isfahan.
Theon of Alexandria was a Greek scholar and mathematician who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. He edited and arranged Euclid's Elements and wrote commentaries on works by Euclid and Ptolemy. His daughter Hypatia also won fame as a mathematician.
A (geographic) meridian is the half of an imaginary great circle on the Earth's surface, terminated by the North Pole and the South Pole, connecting points of equal longitude, as measured in angular degrees east or west of the Prime Meridian. The position of a point along the meridian is given by that longitude and its latitude, measured in angular degrees north or south of the Equator. Each meridian is perpendicular to all circles of latitude. Meridians are half of a great circle on the Earth's surface. The length of a meridian on a modern ellipsoid model of the earth has been estimated at 20,003.93 km.
The term Great Year has two major meanings. It is defined by scientific astronomy as "The period of one complete cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, or about 25,800 years". A more precise figure of 25,772 years is currently accepted. The position of the Earth's axis in the northern night sky currently almost aligns with the star Polaris, the North Star. This is a passing coincidence and has not been so in the past and will not be so again until a Great Year has passed.
Euctemon was an Athenian astronomer. He was a contemporary of Meton and worked closely with this astronomer. Little is known of his work apart from his partnership with Meton and what is mentioned by Ptolemy. With Meton, he made a series of observations of the solstices in order to determine the length of the tropical year. Geminus and Ptolemy quote him as a source on the rising and setting of the stars. Pausanius's Description of Greece names Damon and Philogenes and Euctemon's children.
Greek astronomy is astronomy written in the Greek language in classical antiquity. Greek astronomy is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as the Greek language had become the language of scholarship throughout the Hellenistic world following the conquests of Alexander. This phase of Greek astronomy is also known as Hellenistic astronomy, while the pre-Hellenistic phase is known as Classical Greek astronomy. During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, much of the Greek and non-Greek astronomers working in the Greek tradition studied at the Musaeum and the Library of Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt.
In astronomy, an equinox is either of two places on the celestial sphere at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. Although there are two intersections of the ecliptic with the celestial equator, by convention, the equinox associated with the Sun's ascending node is used as the origin of celestial coordinate systems and referred to simply as "the equinox". In contrast to the common usage of spring/vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the celestial coordinate system equinox is a direction in space rather than a moment in time.
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