Mankind has always gazed through the skies to the heavens, searching himself in the midst of the great universe system. We know that we are a part of this universe system but never realized that universe is also a part of us, individually. We fail to realize that the stars, the nebulae, the black holes or even the moon is actually present in him. We, though we don’t find ourselves in the most exotic state, we actually get transcended into what we call the exotic matter- THE UNIVERSE.
WHAT IS ASTRONOMY?
Astronomy is the study of moon, sun, stars, galaxies, all the non-earthly and the heavenly bodies.
It is a close cousin to astrophysics. Astrophysics involves around the physics of astronomy and these two terms are used interchangeably.
HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY
Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences that go way back to the Vedic period. This period not only understood the preponderance of cosmology and astrology; they had also given their fair share of drift to astronomy. Though astronomy had been before this period, the last written evidence was dated as 3rd millennium BCE.
People during this period set side by side these celestial bodies and their gods and myth. The people who were good in astronomy were called as priests and considered to be divine. The calendars were set based on the solar and lunar movement and had the calculation of the solar and lunar eclipse. They also had mentioned about the tides. These calendars were very much pragmatic to the farmers, because the calendars were set in accordance to the seasons present during that time.
ASTRONOMY IN INDIA
Indian astronomy holds its origin to the Indus valley civilization which dates 3rd millennium BCE. Since they never left any documents behind, the oldest one was VEDANGA JYOTHISHA. The Greek and the Babylonian mythical astronomy also had its fair share of influence in Indian astronomy during the 6th century. Since India had a hovered knowledge in mathematics, astronomical discoveries were done on a higher note.
PROLIFERATION OF INDIAN ASTRONOMY
Aryabhatta in his Aryabhattia, mentioned the calculated time taken by the planet to revolve around the sun. He is the one who calculated the period of solar and lunar eclipse using many astronomical units. These discovery were done during the period of 476-550CE.
The golden period for the development of astronomy was during the Shunga period. It was because of the development of calculations of the motions and rising and setting of various planets and their conjuring with respect to the sun.
By 6th century, Indian astronomers believed that the comets were periodically moving heavenly bodies and the various information regarding to it were pitched in various books written during the 10th century.
The rituals and the ceremonies were the code for the division of the year. Vasanta (spring) reigns during the period from Mid-March to Mid-May, mid May—mid July was summer (“grishma”), mid July—mid September had rains (varsha), mid-September—mid November was autumn, mid November—mid January was shivery, mid-January—mid March was dewy (śiśira).
A DISCLOSURE IN 2008:
J.A.B. van Buitenen (2008) reports on the calendars in India-
The oldest calendar holds its origin to 1000BCE. The year had 360 days in which each month had either 27 or 28 days. The resulting discrepancy was resolved by the intercalation of a leap month every 60 months. Time was calculated based on the positions of the stars and constellations (nakshatras). These constellations (nakṣatra) each measure an arc of 13° 20′ of the ecliptic circle.
INDIAN AND ISLAMIC ASTRONOMY
The Mughal emperors during the 17th century combined both Hindu techniques and Islamic instruments. The astronomers from both the religion worked together which catapulted the Indian astronomy to another level. A large number of astronomy related centres and sundials were built during this period.
THE PRESENT INDIAN ASTRONOMY
After a long schism, India has gained momentum in this field for the past decade. Indian astronomers are now commingling the modern technologies, brains and the past learning, to drift the astronomy to an elevated level.
Astronomy has its deep roots in our culture way back in history when there was no modern equip mental aid. Astronomy is not only the oldest natural science but it is a tradition to be celebrated. It gives us a plunge towards an unknown world of known constituents.
ASTRONOMY COMPELS THE SOUL TO LOOK UPWARDS AND LEADS US FROM THIS WORLD TO ANOTHER.