Retrograde Motions and Maximum Elongations

  • Olaf Pedersen
Part of the Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences book series (SHMP)


In the previous Chapters 5, 6, 9, and 10 we have seen how Ptolemy solved the problem of determining the ecliptic longitude λ(t) of the Sun, Moon, and planets at any given instant of time t. The solution was given in the form of a number of fairly similar standard procedures which we have summarized in the final formulae (5.32–33) of the solar theory, (6.8) of the lunar theory, and (9.43–44) together with (10,12) in the case of the five planets. This was an intellectual feat of the highest importance for the development of astronomy. For not only did Ptolemy complete what his predecessors had begun, but his achievement meant that the purpose of planetary theory became definitively fixed in a new direction.


Angular Velocity Stationary Point Standard Position True Anomaly Maximum Elongation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olaf Pedersen
    • 1
  1. 1.History of Science DepartmentUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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