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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