• Paul Kunitzsch
Reference work entry

Al‐Ṣūfī, Abu'l‐ḥusayn ˓Abd al‐Raḥmān ibn ˓Umar, was born in 903 in Rayy, near modern Tehran, and died in 986.

Al‐Ṣūfī was an astronomer in the Arabic–Islamic area. He was of Persian origin, but wrote in Arabic, the language of all science in that time. He was best renowned, and became most influential, through his Kitāb ṣuwar al‐kawākib al‐thābita (Book on the Constellations), written around 964. Knowledge of the fixed stars in Greek‐based Arabic–Islamic astronomy was mainly derived from Ptolemy's catalog of 1,025 stars arranged in 48 constellations contained in his Almagest(ca. AD 150). Al‐Ṣūfī reexamined Ptolemy's values of the star coordinates and magnitudes. In his book, he described all the stars catalogued by Ptolemy, adding his criticism in each individual case. However, in the tables added to his book he nevertheless faithfully rendered Ptolemy's traditional values, adding a constant of 12°42′, for precession, to Ptolemy's longitudes. Only the magnitudes were given according...

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  • Paul Kunitzsch

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