(Last Updated on : 13/11/2013)
Aryabhata concept of astronomy had been one of the most celebrated works of Hindu astronomy. Aryabhata I
, the author of Aryabhatiya, for the first time introduced the use of scientific method and ancient Hindu mathematics to calculate the movement of planets. Though the biggest contribution of his work is that it for the time tried to locate the structure of the earth as a spherical. This in the long run helped to calculate the time, date and months of a year. Based on his theory Indian astronomy
could now calculate the actual time, direction and date of a year.
Aryabhata's Innovation in the field of Mathematics
Aryabhata's concept of astronomy is mainly included in the four volumes of Aryabhatiya. The books namely Gitikapada, Ganitapada, Kalakriyapada and Golapada summerize his concepts of astronomy. Though Aryabhata is primarily known for his contributions in the field Astronomy; along with astronomy he is at the same time known for his contribution in the field of mathematics. Aryabhata I
for the first time introduced the concepts of trigonometry, approximations of Pi, value of zero as well as algebra which were not known in India before him. All this helped him to make accurate assessments regarding the movement of Planets, stars and the Earth as a whole.
Aryabhata's theory of Scientific Astronomy
Aryabhatan concept of astronomy was developed in 5th century which has been primarily summarized in two well known books namely Aryabhata Siddhanta and Aryabhatiya which is a full fledged work compiled in 499AD. Through these books Aryabhata was able to establish the new concepts and parameters of astronomy which were rarely known in the past. Born in Kusumapuri Aryabhata is known as one of the eminent astronomer of Kerala after whom a new tradition of astronomy grew in Kerala
. His Astronomical theory has been mainly incorporated in the four volumes of Aryabhatiya which is divided in Gitikapada, Ganitapada, Kalaripada and Golapada. Among these the first section called Gitikapada includes 13 verses which provides the basic definition, astronomical parameters, zero - point for the commencement of any calculation, the position of the apogees and the planets, the diameter of the earth as well; as other planets and the location of the orbits of various planets. The second section of called Ganitapada includes 33 verses which further include the concepts and formula of Arithmatic, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. The third volume known as Kalakriyapada includes the motion of the planets, the mean of epicycle which shall decide the change of time, determine the date and the month with the movement of the earth and the movement of planets. And finally the fourth volume called Golapada includes 50 verses which include the motion of the sun, moon. It is in this volume when for the first time Aryabhata declared the structure of the earth to be Spherical which h has its own axis.
Rotation of Earth
Aryabhata concept of astronomy made the most important contribution in case of making assessments regarding the sphere of the earth and its rotation. As against the existing theory Aryabhata was the first to claim that the Earth was not static but revolves round its own axis which for the first time located the Sidereal rotation of the earth. Aryabhata claimed that the earth rotates once in sidereal day while the stars are fixed in their own place. In locating the motion of the solar system Aryabhata was the first time described the geocentric model of the solar system where he established that the sun and the moon are each aired by epicycles which revolve round the earth. He further includes the position of planets from the Earth.
Aryabhata concept of astronomy has been criticised by a number of astronomers of later age. The most prominent being Brahmagupta
who criticised Aryabhata's theory which was later on critised by a number astronomers like Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Lallah, Sripati
and Bhaskara II
who criticised Aryabhata's theory of rotation of the Earth.
Thus, Aryabhatan concept of Astronomy, in spite of its criticism, introduced a number of astronomical concepts which were earlier not known in Ancient Indian Astronomy
. Because of the concepts like value of Zero and the shape of the Earth as spherical and the rotation of the Earth Aryabhata shall always be regarded as the father of Scientific Astronomy in India and father of modern day mathematics.