Chintamani Ragoonathachari and contemporary Indian astronomy

Chintamani Ragoonathachari1 (1840–80)served the Madras Observatory under various cadres. His meticulous contributions fetched him the honour of membership of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Credits : B. S. Shylaja [shylaja.jnp@gmail.com]

Chintamani Ragoonathachari1 (1840–80)served the Madras Observatory under various cadres. His meticulous contributions fetched him the honour of membership  of the Royal Astronomical Society. He conducted two solar eclipse expeditions  in 1868 and 1871, and was the first Indian to be credited with the discovery of two variable stars, R Ret and V Cep. The transit of Venus which occurred in 1874, was a great astronomical event observed by many Indian and European teams on the Indian soil. Ragoonathachari prepared a treatise on this subject sometime in the early part of 1874. The English and Kannada versions are available at the archives of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Here a comparative study of the two texts is done to demonstrate the new light it throw son the status of contemporary Indian astronomy.
The two texts It is widely publicized that Ragoonathachari1authored a book on the Transit of Venus in English and Indian languages. The archival collection has the coverage of the Persian version. The entire texts of the English and Kannada versions are available2,3. A couple of pages are missing in the Kannada version. They correspond to the diagrams at the end of the text. Since these diagrams are identical with the English version according to the figure captions, the text may be considered as complete. At the outset the two versions appear to be one and the same; however, a careful study shows that there is a variation. It is interesting to note that the same content has been presented differently to suit different readers. The English version has the text in the form of a dialogue, where a Siddhanti (scientist, astronomer aware of modern/European astronomy)answers and convinces the Indian pundit on the importance of the event. The Kannada version The mode of presentation in the Kannada version is different. It is not in the form of a dialogue, but a smooth reading text.

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India on the MOON

After a successful launch and orbital maneuvers, Chandrayaan has finally settled in its orbit and has just launched a Moon Impact Probe.

After a successful launch and orbital maneuvers, Chandrayaan has finally settled in its orbit and has just launched a Moon Impact Probe. It has successfully crash landed and has put the Tri-Colour on the moon. By doing so India has become the 4th nation in the world to send its flag on the moon.

The following are the images sent by the probe:

Moon's Surface
Moons Surface near Shakelton Crater
Moon's Surface near Shakelton Crater

1874 Transit of Venus Observations of Samanta Chandrasekhar

Samanta Chandrasekhar, of Orissa, is a poignant figure of a classical Siddhantic Astronomer of India, who survived into the 20th century (he died in 1904).

Samanta Chandrasekhar, of Orissa, is a poignant figure of a classical Siddhantic Astronomer of India, who survived into the 20th century (he died in 1904).

The year 2004 was a very appropriate year to remember his work and, in particular, to put together
his observations of the 1874 Transit of Venus. Not just observations –
predictions too, as he was a Siddhantic Astronomer, completely un-influenced by
the western schools of Astronomy, and to some extent – unaware of it, during
the early phases of his Astronomical efforts.

Samanta Chandrasekhar was born on the 13th of December 1835, at Khandapara,
in Orissa. His full name was Mahamahopadhaya Chandrasekhar Singh Harichandan
Mohapatra Samant, but he was better known as Pathani Samanta. His lifetime
Astronomy efforts were summarized by him in ‘Sidhanta Darpana’, which was
published in 1899, by Calcutta University. The original manuscript of 2500
Sanskrit shlokas was written in Oriya script, on palm leaves, by Samanta
Chandrasekhar.

Samanta Chandrasekhar did not have a formal University education and his interest and
efforts in Astronomy were completely self taught, from manuscripts of Siddhantic
Astronomical treatises, that he had access to. It is very evident that he had no
exposure to the revolutionary advances in Astronomy between the 17thand
19th centuries, until rather late in his Astronomical career, and
very little, even towards the end of that. He remained a complete Siddhantic
Astronomer in the classical mould, uninfluenced by more recent developments.

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