Timocharis of Alexandria (Greek : Τιμόχαρις or Τιμοχάρης, gen. Τιμοχάρους; c. 320–260 BC) was a Greek astronomer and philosopher. Likely born in Alexandria, he was a contemporary of Euclid.
What little is known about Timocharis comes from citations by Ptolemy in the Almagest . These indicate that Timocharis worked in Alexandria during the 290s and 280s BC. Ptolemy lists the declination of 18 stars as recorded by Timocharis or Aristillus in roughly the year 290 BC.Between 295 and 272 BC, Timocharis recorded four lunar occultations and the passage of the planet Venus across a star. These were recorded using both the Egyptian and Athenian calendars. The observed stellar passage by Venus may have occurred on October 12, 272 BC when the planet came within 15 arcminutes of the star η Virginis.
The observations by Timocharis are among the oldest Greek records that can be assigned a specific date. They are only exceeded by records of the summer solstice of 432 BC, as noted by Euctemon and Meton.Timocharis worked with Aristillus in an astronomical observatory that was most likely part of the Library of Alexandria. Their equipment would have been simple, most likely consisting of gnomons, sundials and an armillary sphere. The two were contemporaries of Aristarchus of Samos, but it is unclear whether there was any association between Timocharis and Aristarchus.
During his astronomical observations, Timocharis recorded that the star Spica was located 8° west of the Autumnal equinox. Later, Hipparchus observed that Spica was only 6° west of the Autumnal equinox. Hipparchus was able to deduce the period during which Timocharis made his observations based upon the records of earlier lunar eclipses. From this difference, Hipparchus discovered that the longitudes of the stars had changed over time, which led him to determine the first value of the precession of the equinoxes as no less than 1/100° per year.
In approximately 3rd century BC, with the help of Aristillus, he created the first star catalogue in the Western world.[ citation needed ]
He is regarded as the first astronomer to have made a recorded mention of the planet Mercury.
The crater Timocharis on the Moon is named after him.
The astronomical unit is a unit of length, roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun and equal to about 150 million kilometres or ~8 light minutes. The actual distance varies by about 3% as Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum (aphelion) to a minimum (perihelion) and back again once each year. The AU was originally conceived as the average of Earth's aphelion and perihelion; however, since 2012 it has been defined as exactly 149597870700 m.
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.
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.
Virgo is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for virgin, and its symbol is . Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second-largest constellation in the sky and the largest constellation in the zodiac. The ecliptic intersects the celestial equator within this constellation and Pisces. Underlying these technical two definitions, the sun passes directly overhead of the equator, within this constellation, at the September equinox. Virgo can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica.
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.
Menelaus of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician and astronomer, the first to recognize geodesics on a curved surface as natural analogs of straight lines.
The following is a timeline of Solar System astronomy.
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.
In the Hipparchian, Ptolemaic, and Copernican systems of astronomy, the epicycle was a geometric model used to explain the variations in speed and direction of the apparent motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets. In particular it explained the apparent retrograde motion of the five planets known at the time. Secondarily, it also explained changes in the apparent distances of the planets from the Earth.
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.
Seleucus of Seleucia was a Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher. Coming from Seleucia on the Tigris, Mesopotamia, the capital of the Seleucid Empire, or, alternatively, Seleukia on the Erythraean Sea, he is best known as a proponent of heliocentrism and for his theory of the origin of tides.
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.
For astronomy and calendar studies, the Callippic cycle is a particular approximate common multiple of the year and the synodic month, that was proposed by Callippus during 330 BC. It is a period of 76 years, as an improvement of the 19-year Metonic cycle.
Aristyllus was a Greek astronomer, presumably of the school of Timocharis. 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 at DIO 7.1 ‡1 p. 13 (2007).
The Copernican Revolution was the paradigm shift from the Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which described the cosmos as having Earth stationary at the center of the universe, to the heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System. This revolution consisted of two phases; the first being extremely mathematical in nature and the second phase starting in 1610 with the publication of a pamphlet by Galileo. Beginning with the publication of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, contributions to the “revolution” continued until finally ending with Isaac Newton’s work over a century later.
On Sizes and Distances is a text by the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus in which approximations are made for the radii of the Sun and the Moon as well as their distances from the Earth. It is not extant, but some of its contents have been preserved in the works of Ptolemy and his commentator Pappus of Alexandria. Several modern historians have attempted to reconstruct the methods of Hipparchus using the available texts.
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.
Babylonian astronomy was the study or recording of celestial objects during the early history of Mesopotamia.
Egyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times, in the Predynastic Period. In the 5th millennium BCE, the stone circles at Nabta Playa may have made use of astronomical alignments. By the time the historical Dynastic Period began in the 3rd millennium BCE, the 365 day period of the Egyptian calendar was already in use, and the observation of stars was important in determining the annual flooding of the Nile.