Άbdul-Ramān al-Şūfī and his Book of the Fixed Stars: a journey of re-discovery

Hafez, Ihsan, Stephenson, F. Richard, and Orchiston, Wayne (2011) Άbdul-Ramān al-Şūfī and his Book of the Fixed Stars: a journey of re-discovery. In: Orchiston, Wayne, Nakamura, Tsuko, and Strom, Richard G., (eds.) Highlighting the History of Astronomy in the Asia-Pacific Region: proceedings of the ICOA-6 conference. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings . Springer, New York, USA, pp. 121-138.

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Abstract

The Book of the Fixed Stars was written by the Persian astronomer Άbdul-Ramān al-Şūfī around AD 964, and is one of the most important medieval Arabic treatises on astronomy. al-Şūfī's work contains an extensive star catalog as well as detailed star charts for the 48 classical constellations, and draws on material in Ptolemy's Almagest. At present no English translation of al-Şūfī's treatise exists. This paper summarizes a detailed study by the first author for a Ph.D. degree in the Center of Astronomy at James Cook University (Townsville, Australia) which will include for the first time a complete English translation of the main parts of al-Şūfī's major work.

This paper includes a brief biography of al-Şūfī, along with information on the extant manuscripts of the Book of the Fixed Stars, the structure of the book and star catalogue, and the star maps and charts. A major finding which we highlight in this paper is al-Şūfī's stellar magnitude estimates which were based upon a unique three-step intermediate magnitude system that he developed. al-Şūfī also identified and commented on more than one hundred new stars that were not listed in the Almagest or other early star catalogs. al-Şūfī's contribution to astronomy reverberated throughout history, extending to recent times.

Item ID: 18641
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
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This chapter appears in the book "Highlighting the History of Astronomy in the Asia-Pacific Region: proceedings of the ICOA-6 conference." The book information is available from the Related URLs field.

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ISBN: 978-1-4419-8161-5
ISSN: 1570-6605
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2011 02:18
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020199 Astronomical and Space Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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