Name : Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi or ‘Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn
Title : Azophi, ‘Arab astronomer’
Birth : 903 in Isfahan, Persia
Death : 986
Ethnicity : Andalus (Spanish)
Region : Iberia (Al-Andalus)
Main interests : Astronomy
Contributions : He lived in Isfahan, Persia, and worked on translating and expanding Greek astronomical works, especially the Almagest of Ptolemy. He contributed several corrections to Ptolemy’s star list and did his own brightness and
magnitude estimates which frequently deviated from those in Ptolemy’s work. He identified the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is visible from Yemen, though not from Isfahan; it was not seen by Europeans until Magellan’s voyage in the 16th century. He also made the earliest recorded observation of the Andromeda Galaxy in 964 AD; describing it as a “small cloud”. These were the first galaxies other than the Milky Way to be observed from Earth.
He observed that the ecliptic plane is inclined with respect to the celestial equator and more accurately calculated the length of the tropical year. He observed and described the stars, their positions, their magnitudes and their colour, setting out his results constellation by constellation. For each constellation, he provided two drawings, one from the outside of a celestial globe, and the other from the inside (as seen from the earth).
Al-Sufi also wrote about the astrolabe, finding numerous additional uses for it: he described over 1000 different uses, in areas as diverse as astronomy, astrology, horoscopes, navigation, surveying, timekeeping, Qibla, Salat prayer, etc
Work : Al Sufi published his famous “Book of Fixed Stars” in 964, describing much of his work, both in textual descriptions and pictures. — Wikipedia; http://www.fact-index.com
Islamia/The Brunei Times
Friday, 21 May 2010