Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

ҁAlī ibn ҁĪsā al-Asṭurlābī

Reference work entry

FlourishedDamascus, (Syria), 832

ҁAlī ibn ҁĪsā al-Asṭurlābī, author of an early Arabic treatise on the astrolabe and an opponent of astrology, enjoyed renown as an astronomical instrument maker and contributed to observations initiated by the ҁAbbāsid caliph  Ma'mūn. He took part with Khālid ibn ҁAbd al-Malik al-Marwarrūdhī and others in an expedition to the Plain of Sinjār to measure 1° of latitude and, thus, the size of the Earth. ҁAlī ibnҁĪsā made astronomical observations at Baghdad in 829/830 and at Damascus in 832–833. He divided the mural quadrant used for the Damascus observations to confirm results of the earlier missions.

Selected References

  1. Barani, Syed Hasan (1951). “Muslim Researches in Geodesy.” In Al-Bīrūnī Commemoration Volume, A.H. 362-A.H. 1362, pp. 1–52. Calcutta: Iran Society. (Includes transcriptions and an analysis of Arabic primary sources, as well as translations.)Google Scholar
  2. King, D. A. (2000). “Too Many Cooks … A New Account of the Earliest Geodetic Measurements.” Suhayl 1: 207–241. (Provides translated texts related to ҁAlī ibn ҁĪsā’s involvement with measuring the Earth.)Google Scholar
  3. Rosenfeld, B. A. and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu (2003). Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and Their Works (7 th – 19 th c.). Istanbul: IRCICA, p. 28.Google Scholar
  4. Sarton, George (1927). Introduction to the History of Science. Vol. 1, p. 566. Baltimore: Published for the Carnegie Institution of Washington by Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  5. Sayılı, Aydın (1960). The Observatory in Islam. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society. (See Chap. 2, “Al Mamûn’s Observatory Building Activity,” pp. 50–87, for a valuable discussion, beginning with a thorough analysis of early Islamic astronomical observations.)MATHGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adler PlanetariumChicagoUSA