Hindu Astronomy - Global Discourse - Indian and Chinese Astronomy

Indian and Chinese Astronomy

Indian astronomy reached China with the expansion of Buddhism during the Later Han dynasty (25–220 CE). Further translation of Indian works on astronomy was completed in China by the Three Kingdoms era (220–265 CE). However, the most detailed incorporation of Indian astronomy occurred only during the Tang Dynasty (618–907) when a number of Chinese scholars—such as Yi Xing— were versed both in Indian and Chinese astronomy. A system of Indian astronomy was recorded in China as Jiuzhi-li (718 CE), the author of which was an Indian by the name of Qutan Xida—a translation of Devanagari Gotama Siddha—the director of the Tang dynasty's national astronomical observatory.

Fragments of texts during this period indicate that Arabs adopted the sine function (inherited from Indian mathematics) instead of the chords of arc used in Hellenistic mathematics. Another Indian influence was an approximate formula used for timekeeping by Muslim astronomers. Through Islamic astronomy, Indian astronomy had an influence on European astronomy via Arabic translations. During the Latin translations of the 12th century, Muhammad al-Fazari's Great Sindhind, which was based on the Surya Siddhanta and the works of Brahmagupta, was translated into Latin in 1126 and was influential at the time.

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