163 Statistical Analysis of the Star Catalogue Almagest

Let us return to the investigation of the Almagest conducted by astronomer R. Newton's. It is important to emphasize that Newton never, at any moment, doubted the correctness of Scaliger's chronology. His conclusions can be summarized as follows:

1. The astronomical situation on the real sky in the beginning of the Christian era does not match the astronomical data contained in the Almagest;

2. The presently available version of the star catalogue Almagest does not contain descriptions of direct astronomical observations, but the results of computations, based on the theoretical models. These theoretical computations were later inserted into the Almagest seemingly to falsely assume the real astronomical observations, i.e. they were (according to Newton) fabricated;

3. The Almagest couldn't be compiled around the year 150 A.D., as it is claimed by Scaliger's chronology;

4. Consequently, the Almagest was created during another epoch and its dating should be revised accordingly.

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Astronomical Chart
Figure 1.16: An astronomical chart hy A. Durer that was published in the first edition of the Almagest

R. Newton points out the passages in the Almagest indicating that the astronomical observations were conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, who according to Scaliger's chronology ruled from 138 to 161 AD. Therefore, R. Newton concludes, that, whoever was the author of the Almagest, he was a liar. There is no way these "personally made observations" could ever represent a real astronomical situation from the 2nd century. In the introduction to his book, Robert Newton stated that it was a story about a crime committed by a scientist against the ethics of his profession. He claimed that Ptolemy's star catalogue was "corrected" according to the precession used by Hipparchus. For example, he shows that the equinoxes and other observations allegedly made by Ptolemy to determine the ecliptic's slop and Alexandria's latitude, were fabricated. There were also four fabricated lunar eclipse "triads," falsifications of calculations and falsification of data (for example related to Venus and the exterior planet data). Newton completes his thought with a

Almagest Stars Catalogue
Figure 1.17: An astronomical chart by A. Durer that was published in the first edition of the Almagest

statement that Ptolemy was not an outstanding astronomer of antiquity but rather a most successful swindler in the history of science41.

However, a perception of the Ptolemy's work may become quite different if it turns out that it was a text written in the 10-16th century. In the book [101], the authors, V.V. Kalashnikov, G.B. Nosovskiy and A.T. Fomenko, verified the correctness of R. Newton's calculations and confirmed his findings. In contrast to R. Newton, their goal was to achieve an independent dating of the Almagest based on the mathematical and statistical analysis of the individual stars' proper motion. This is not an easy problem, which required a careful analysis of the accuracy of the Almagest's star coordinates. Let us recall that every star in the catalogue was identified by two ecliptic coordinates: longitude and latitude. It was discovered that the accuracy of the longitudes was much worse than that of

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