© 2000

Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers


Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 4)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introductory Orientations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. John M. Steele
      Pages 3-17
  3. The Western Heritage

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. John M. Steele
      Pages 21-83
    3. John M. Steele
      Pages 85-105
    4. John M. Steele
      Pages 107-124
    5. John M. Steele
      Pages 125-158
  4. The Eastern Heritage

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 159-159
    2. John M. Steele
      Pages 161-215
    3. John M. Steele
      Pages 217-228
  5. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 229-229
    2. John M. Steele
      Pages 231-236
  6. Appendices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 237-237
    2. John M. Steele
      Pages 239-262
    3. John M. Steele
      Pages 263-267
    4. John M. Steele
      Pages 269-292
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 293-323

About this book


Eclipses have long been seen as important celestial phenomena, whether as omens affecting the future of kingdoms, or as useful astronomical events to help in deriving essential parameters for theories of the motion of the moon and sun. This is the first book to collect together all presently known records of timed eclipse observations and predictions from antiquity to the time of the invention of the telescope. In addition to cataloguing and assessing the accuracy of the various records, which come from regions as diverse as Ancient Mesopotamia, China, and Europe, the sources in which they are found are described in detail. Related questions such as what type of clocks were used to time the observations, how the eclipse predictions were made, and how these prediction schemes were derived from the available observations are also considered. The results of this investigation have important consequences for how we understand the relationship between observation and theory in early science and the role of astronomy in early cultures, and will be of interest to historians of science, astronomers, and ancient and medieval historians.


Renaissance astronomy moon sun telescope

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of DurhamUK

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers
  • Authors J.M. Steele
  • Series Title Archimedes
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2000
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-6298-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-5454-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-015-9528-5
  • Series ISSN 1385-0180
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 324
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History, general
    Astronomy, Observations and Techniques
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


`The book is lucidly written and well organized, and contains just the right amount of background in general and astronomical history to orient non-specialist readers.'
Annals of Science, 58(2001)