(Last Updated on : 18/11/2015)
Indian astronomers left behind their evidence of contribution in the earliest textual mention, which has also been mentioned in the religious literature
of India. During the 1st millennium BCE, Jyotia Vedanga and other auxiliary branches of learning called Vedangas began to take shape and the following centuries a number of Indian astronomers studied various aspects of astronomical sciences and global discourse along with other cultures followed. A number of instruments were used in Indian astronomy, which were also applied for calendrical studies.
Ancient Indian Astronomers
Lagadha was the earliest known Indian astronomer as per the accounts of 'Vedanga Jyotisa'. Numerable astronomical observations and calculations were conducted by this talented astronomer, mentioned during the 1200 BCE.
Another renowned astronomer during this age was Aryabhata I
, who authored 'Aryabhatasiddhanta' and the 'Aryabhatiya'. It is said that he had a great influence on Islamic astronomy. He was the first one to discover that the moon shone due to the light of the sun. Aryabhata's ideals were re-established by Brahmagupta
, especially the one which asserted the beginning of a new day commencing at midnight. His works enabled the introduction of Indian idea of mathematics in the world of the Arabs. The different Roman, Egyptian and Greek ideologies of astronomy were researched by Varahamihira
who also composed the treatise 'Pancasiddhantika'.
The astronomer Bhaskara I
had written 'Mahabhaskariya', 'Aryabhatiyabhashya' and 'Mahabhaskariya' who studied the motion of the equinoxes, etc. Lalla, another astronomer during this period was also reputed.
Medieval Indian Astronomers
, Bhaskara II
Suri, Acyuta Psarati
and Nilakanthan Somayaji were the various Indian astronomers of the medieval India. 'Siddhantasiromani' and 'Karanakutuhala' were composed by Bhaskara II who observed the cosmography, conjunctions, planetary positions and much more. The astronomer Sripati wrote the book 'Siddhantasekhara' which had 20 chapters which spoke about brand new ideologies. During the regime of Firoz Shah Tughlaq
in the 14th century, 'Yantra
-Raja' was written by Mahendra Suri which is an important Sanskrit
work on astrolabe.
The book consists of 182 verses related to the astrolabe and Suri had an impact on astronomers like Padmanabha
who existed during the 1426 CE. Aryabhata'a model of Venus
was researched and revised by Nilakanthan Somayaji in his composition 'Tantrasangraha', and he followed the Kerala
School of Astronomy and Mathematics. Acyuta Pisarati was responsible for suggesting about the enhancements in procedures of calculations of eclipses, especially in the 'Uparagakriyakrama'.
Modern Indian Astronomers
Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu
is considered the father of modern Indian astronomy and he served as the president of the International Astronomical Union. He is an important Indian astronomer who had jointly discovered the Wilson-Bappu effect along with Olin Chaddock Wilson, an American astronomer. The Vainu Bappu Observatory has been named in his honour. J.C. Bhattarcharya, born in 1931 was famous for his contribution to the sphere of experimental astrophysics. Somnath Bharadwaj is yet another well-known astronomer. Other notable astronomers include Venkatraman Radhakrishnan, Achyuta Panikkar, Prabodh Chandra Sengupta, Jitendra Jatashankar Rawal, Priyamvada Natarajan, Vinod Johri, Mrinal Kumar Das Gupta, Sandip Chakrabarti and many more.