Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Double Epicyclic Model of India

This diagram is by courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Robert Baywater,

We have the Double Epicyclic Model - that of Manda Epicycle and Sheegra Epicycles - in Indian Astronomy, which explain the Zodiacal and Solar anomalies. One Epicycle explains the Zodiacal Anomaly and the other the Solar Anomaly.

( Zodiacal Anomaly - That all planets move slower at Aphelion and faster at Perihelion.
Solar Anomaly - The astronomical phenomenon of Retrogression. Backward Motion. When a planet changes its course from perihelion to aphelion, it retrogrades in order to gain the Sun's celestial gravity )

Dennis Duke, of Florida State University, says " We have only to conclude that Ptolemy did not invent the equant. " If Ptolemy did not invent the equant, as Westerners widely believe, then who did ?

"The bisected Indian equant model is pre-Ptolemaic' says he. Other Greek books, prior to Ptoemy, may have influenced Indian Astronomy,says he. Then what are those books, prior to the Almagest, which had influenced the Indian system? The answer is "unknown sources".

Remarks Duke " Indeed, since the very earliest investigation of the Indian models by Western scholars it has been presumed that the models are somehow related to a double epicycle system, with one epicycle accounting for the zodiacal anomaly, and the other accounting for the solar anomaly (retrograde motion) This perception was no doubt reinforced by the tendency of some Indian texts to associate the manda and sighra corrections with an even older Indian tradition of some sort of forceful cords of air tugging at the planet and causing it to move along a concentric deferent . Since our goal in this paper is to investigate the nature of any connection with ancient Greek planetary models, it is only important to accept that the models appear in Indian texts that clearly pre-date any possible Islamic influences, which could, at least in principle, have introduced astronomical elements that Islamic astronomers might have derived from Greek sources. ( "The Equant in India: the Mathematical Basis of Ancient Indian Planetary Models" By Dennis Duke, Florida State University )

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