APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by APOD Robot » Sat Mar 30, 2024 4:05 am

Image Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey

Explanation: Discovered by accident, this manuscript page provides graphical insight to astronomy in medieval times, before the Renaissance and the influence of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho de Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo. The intriguing page is from lecture notes on astronomy compiled by the monk Magister Wolfgang de Styria before the year 1490. The top panels clearly illustrate the necessary geometry for a lunar (left) and solar eclipse in the Earth-centered Ptolemaic system. At lower left is a diagram of the Ptolemaic view of the Solar System with text at the upper right to explain the movement of the planets according to Ptolemy's geocentric model. At the lower right is a chart to calculate the date of Easter Sunday in the Julian calendar. The illustrated manuscript page was found at historic Melk Abbey in Austria.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>

timclair

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by timclair » Sat Mar 30, 2024 6:28 am

One of the first major but failed efforts attempting to twist reality to match religious faith, a fool's errand. He did well for his time to coordinate all the data in front of him, but the fact was, is, and always will be that religious faith is a logically corrupt blind alley. Their assertions provide a model of the Cosmos that is grotesquely wrong, therefore their conclusions are certain, and certainly false.

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 13488
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Ann » Sat Mar 30, 2024 7:02 am

I like it. Of course an Earth-centered solar system has nothing to do with reality, but the Ptolemaic system was very carefully constructed and worked extremely well, before humanity had better instruments to measure the actual motions of the planets relative to the Earth (Tycho Brahe) and mathematicians to make sense of the measurements (Johannes Kepler).

Today's APOD shows us how solar and lunar eclipses were explained by the Ptolemaic system. It doesn't show us what solar and lunar eclipses are actually like.

It's a nice APOD that gives us a glimpse into the cultural and mathematical thinking of the best scientists of the West up until Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler and Galileo. I like it.

But of course I agree with timclair that trying to match reality to religious faith is indeed a fool's errand. It's much more so today than it was in the 15th century, because today we know that none of the holy scriptures match what rigorous scientific observations of the physical, biological and cosmic reality tell us.

Ann
Color Commentator

Guest

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Guest » Sat Mar 30, 2024 8:36 am

Amazing how the size of the Moon changes depending on where it is in its orbit. I wonder how that was explained. I also wonder how they explained why no one noticed it when actually looking at the Moon.

Roy

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Roy » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:07 pm

timclair wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 6:28 am One of the first major but failed efforts attempting to twist reality to match religious faith, a fool's errand. He did well for his time to coordinate all the data in front of him, but the fact was, is, and always will be that religious faith is a logically corrupt blind alley. Their assertions provide a model of the Cosmos that is grotesquely wrong, therefore their conclusions are certain, and certainly false.
Ah, well, no different than today, in whatever field one cares to name.

This does provide links to wander off through Wikipedia for two hours, starting with Styria, Fraktur typeface, scientists, and Rennaissance, and fetching up with "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and Walter M. Miller Jr.'s life. ( a favorite sci-fi story of civilization's rise and fall I read when I was young).

E Fish
Science Officer
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:29 pm

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by E Fish » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:16 pm

The geocentric universe was not an inherently religious perspective unless you're willing to accept the fact that nearly everyone was "religious" in some way throughout Antiquity. Atheism was not really a thing. The geocentric universe was not religious. It was the de facto understanding of the universe from the earliest scholars we have records for until the work of Copernicus, with a few exceptions in Antiquity (Aristarchus) and the Middle Ages (Martianus Capella). The original reasons for advocating for the heliocentric theory were more religious than scientific, but they used logical reasoning to support their ideas. There is no reason to attack religion in this post. Monasteries and abbeys are the main source of scientific knowledge in medieval Europe. Without the preservation of texts in monasteries, Europe would have been even more behind than it was. Most of the big translations that were done in the High Middle Ages were undertaken by religious people who wanted to understand the universe better. Yes, there was resistance to some of the astronomical theories over time but most of the people who pursued astronomy were also religious and for many, their religious belief was in no way in conflict with their scientific pursuits.

I was so interested in this post because I've seen images from medieval Islam demonstrating the nature of eclipses (from earlier periods) and I didn't know there were similar attempts made in medieval Europe as well. I'm disappointed that it's just being used to attack religion with apparently zero understanding of the nature of astronomy and astronomers pre-Scientific Revolution. Copernicus' De Revolutionibus was published in 1543, more that 50 years after this was made.
Amazing how the size of the Moon changes depending on where it is in its orbit. I wonder how that was explained. I also wonder how they explained why no one noticed it when actually looking at the Moon.
This was a well-known issue with the geocentric universe at least from the time of Ptolemy's Almagest when he demonstrated the quantitative model and created the tables for predicting motion. Many astronomers over the years attempted to figure it out. In fact, Ibn al-Haytham wrote a book called Doubts on Ptolemy, listing all the problems with the Ptolemaic model that future astronomers would have to work on. To a degree, because the math worked so well at predicting position, they were willing to set that flaw aside so that they could use the tables of planetary position (the Moon was considered a planet in Antiquity and the Middle Ages) that were so accurate.

profweather

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by profweather » Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:28 pm

"before humanity had better instruments...". The Antikythera mechanism predates the 1500's by nearly 1,700 years. Likewise, the knowledge of the solar system to produce the mechanism itself would probably add a couple or more centuries.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 18271
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Mar 30, 2024 3:05 pm

profweather wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:28 pm "before humanity had better instruments...". The Antikythera mechanism predates the 1500's by nearly 1,700 years. Likewise, the knowledge of the solar system to produce the mechanism itself would probably add a couple or more centuries.
The Antikythera mechanism is a predictive device. It only served to partially mechanize the predictive methods that existed at the time. It is not the sort of "better instrument" considered here, required to create better, more accurate models. Those instruments were telescopes and transit circles and other measurement and observation devices.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
https://www.cloudbait.com

Steen Thomsen

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Steen Thomsen » Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:05 am

Tycho Brahe was certainly a nobleman, but he had no 'de' or 'von' or 'af' in his name. :!:
Best regards from his grand-10-nephew
Steen Thomsen

User avatar
johnnydeep
Commodore
Posts: 2929
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:57 pm

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by johnnydeep » Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:54 pm

Steen Thomsen wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:05 am Tycho Brahe was certainly a nobleman, but he had no 'de' or 'von' or 'af' in his name. :!:
Best regards from his grand-10-nephew
Steen Thomsen
Yup. That leapt out to me as well.
--
"To B̬̻̋̚o̞̮̚̚l̘̲̀᷾d̫͓᷅ͩḷ̯᷁ͮȳ͙᷊͠ Go......Beyond The F͇̤i̙̖e̤̟l̡͓d͈̹s̙͚ We Know."{ʲₒʰₙNYᵈₑᵉₚ}

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 18271
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey (2024 Mar 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:09 pm

Steen Thomsen wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:05 am Tycho Brahe was certainly a nobleman, but he had no 'de' or 'von' or 'af' in his name. :!:
Best regards from his grand-10-nephew
Steen Thomsen
While not common today, and not used during most of his life, the form Tycho de Brahe starts showing up in the late 1500s and the following centuries. So while he himself did not apparently use the name like this, it isn't wrong. Just a kind of oddity.
_
vcnwJ.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
https://www.cloudbait.com