Archive for History of Exact Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 67–120 | Cite as

Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Maghribī’s lunar measurements at the Maragha observatory

  • S. Mohammad MozaffariEmail author


This paper is a technical study of the systematic observations and computations made by Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Maghribī (d. 1283) at the Maragha observatory (north-western Iran, c. 1259–1320) in order to newly determine the parameters of the Ptolemaic lunar model, as explained in his Talkhīṣ al-majisṭī, “Compendium of the Almagest.” He used three lunar eclipses on March 7, 1262, April 7, 1270, and January 24, 1274, in order to measure the lunar epicycle radius and mean motions; an observation on April 20, 1264, to determine the lunar eccentricity; an observation on August 29, 1264, to test the model; and another on March 15, 1262, for measuring the lunar parallax. In the second period of activity at the Maragha observatory, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Wābkanawī (c. 1254–1320) adopted all of al-Maghribī’s parameter values in his Zīj, but decreased his value for the mean longitude of the moon at epoch by 0;13,11\(^{\circ }\). By comparing the times of the new moons and lunar eclipses in the period of 1270–1320 as computed from the astronomical tables of the Maragha tradition with the true modern ones, it is argued that this correction was very probably the result of actual observations.



The author notes with the best thanks and gratitude the suggestions and comments of Dr. Benno van Dalen (Germany). This work has been supported financially by Research institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics of Maragha (RIAAM) under research Project No. 1/2782-55.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics of Maragha (RIAAM)MaraghaIran

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