Samanta Chandrasekhara Simha
BornKhandapara, Orissa, India, 13 December 1835
Samanta Chandrasekhara Simha was the last great naked-eye astronomer.
Siddhantas are traditional Indian models of the Universe and their resulting ephemerides. The beginning of the Siddhanta tradition is lost in time. However, we can say with some certainty that it reached its climax with Samanta Chandrasekhara Simha.
Samanta Chandrasekhara Simha became interested in the Siddhantas as a youth. (The titles “Harichandan Mohapatra” and later “Mahamahopadhaya” often are included in his name; these are honorifics.) He built simple astronomical instruments with which to observe astronomical events, but was disappointed that the old Siddhantas often failed in their predictions. With no Western astronomical education to guide him, Samanta Chandrasekhara Simha set about to create his own Siddhanta all by himself. The result was the Siddhanta Darpana, originally written on palm leaves, but eventually...