Armillary Spheres in India

  • K. V. Sarma
Reference work entry

The armillary sphere, known in Hindu astronomy by the terms Golabandha and Gola‐yantra (Globe instrument), was constructed from early times for study, demonstration, and observation. Among texts and commentaries which have either brief mention or detailed treatment of the armillary sphere, the following might be mentioned: Āryabhaṭīya of Āryabhaṭa (b. 476), Pañcasiddhāntikā of Varāhamihira (505), Śiṣyadhīvṛddhida of Lalla (eighth century), Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta of Brahmagupta (b. 628), Siddhāntaśekhara of Śripati (1039), Sūrya‐siddhānta, Siddhāntairomaṇi (Golabandhādhikāra) of Bhāskara II (b. 1114), and Goladīpikā of Parameśvara (1380–1460).

The movable and immovable circles which form parts of the instrument are made out of thin bamboo strips, the earth and the celestial bodies are of wood or clay, and the lines are connected by means of strings. The axis is made of iron and is mounted on two vertical posts, so that it is possible to rotate the sphere as needed.

The Goladípikā...

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  1. Dikshit, Sankar Balakrishna. Bharatiya Jyotish Sastra (History of Indian Astronomy), Pt. II. New Delhi: Indian Meteorological Department, 1981. 224–25.Google Scholar
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  3. Golam Keṭṭal (Golabandham) (in Malayalam). Bhāratī ya Śāstra‐manjūṣa. Vol. II. Ed. M. S. Sreedharan. Trivandrum: Bharatiya Sastra‐manjusha Publications, 1987. 40–55.Google Scholar
  4. Ohashi, Yukio. A History of Astronomical Instruments in India. Ph.D. Thesis, Lucknow University, 1990.Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • K. V. Sarma

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