(Last Updated on : 26-12-2009)
Chintamani Ragoonthachari was a renowned astronomer of contemporary India. His contributions in the field of astronomy had fetched him real honour and was made a member of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is credited with the discovery of two stars namely the R Ret and V Cep. He had also carried out two solar eclipse expeditions in the year 1868 and 1871. Chintamani Ragoonthachari belonged to a family who made almanac. He was a native of Chennai
and had joined the Madras Observatory as a menial labour but soon had risen to its highest position. He was a keen and erudite observer.
Chintamani Ragoonthachari was an assistant to Norman Pogson, the British Government Astronomer and head of the Madras Observatory from 1861-1891. In the year 1874 the transit of Venus had taken place in the solar system. Chintamani Ragoonthachari had written a treatise on the subject in the year 1874. The book was also written in the year 1874 and two versions of the book are available namely in English and Bengali. The Kannada version of the book addressed local astronomers who were well versed in Sanskrit and mathematics. The book had offered simple explanations of the transit.
Ragoonthachari's discovery of the variability of light output from R Reticuli is considered as the first such discovery from India. In the year 1871 as he had been member of the solar eclipse expedition he communicated his results to the monthly magazine of Royal Astronomical Society. He was keen to propagate astronomy. As a result he tried to give lectures in the regional language like Tamil. He also published the basic concepts of astronomy in languages like Tamil, Kannada, Malyalam, Telgu and Hindustani by writing in various dailies.
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