Chapters from the History of Astronomy

Inter-university Lecture Course April-June 2011

This course gives an overview of the History of Astronomy until the beginning of the 20th century in a series of 9 lectures
about a selection of topics. Simultaneously it teaches the students how to do basic calculations pertaining to
the history of astronomy. Examples of lectures in a previous version of this course may be found at examples.
Examples of the kind of things you will learn to compute are given at Computing examples

The teachers are Professors Frank Verbunt and Jan Hogendijk from Utrecht University,
and Professor Teije de Jong from the University of Amsterdam.

The computer work requires a basic knowledge of programming; FV will teach this in Utrecht with the assistance of Oliwia Madej,
using FORTRAN90 and PGPLOT. Help practica will be given in the home universities of the students,
using locally available FORTRAN and PGPLOT.

The following books are required to follow the course:

author book ISBN; approx.price
John M. Steele A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East 978-0863564284 7.99 UK Pounds
Anton Pannekoek History of Astronomy sold out! try second-hand
The notes for the practical exercises you may find here Here is the answer to the exercise of the position of Jupiter according to the Babylonian method

Useful websites for the computer work are

Schedule of the lectures

date topic of lecture; 11h00-12h45 Room: BBL079 by material topic of practical work; 13h15-15h00 Room: BBL115
27 April Positional Astronomy , Megalithic Astronomy FV syllabus using the Hipparcos Catalogue; plotting
4 May Babylonian Astronomy , Numerical Methods in B.A. TdJ Steele p.9-65 position of Jupiter Babylonian method , number sheet
11 May Greek Astronomy , System of Ptolemaios JH Pannekoek p.95-105,113-162 how to use an astrolabe (JH/WdG)
25 May Islamic Astronomy , Islamic Mathematical Astronomy JH Steele p.83-84,99-133 position of Jupiter Ptolemaean method , Tables (JH)
1 June European medieval astronomy FV syllabus coordinate transformations, precession
8 June Copernican revolution JH Pannekoek pp.188-198; 222-234 planet positions
15 June Newtonian revolution FV Pannekoek 235-244; 261-275 lunar position, daily parallax
22 June Towards modern astronomy FV Pannekoek 289-320 position of a comet: Halley
29 June* Modern use of ancient astronomy: history TdJ syllabus
Modern use of ancient astronomy: astronomy FV syllabus
* this last lecture is not part of the exam

Some examples of the kind of things taught in the computing part:

Computational problems: select one for your report