Hipparchus facts for kids
Hipparchus was born in Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey), and probably died on the island of Rhodes. He worked as an astronomer at least from 147 BC to 127 BC. Hipparchus is considered the greatest ancient astronomical observer. Some people see him as the greatest overall astronomer of antiquity. He was the first Greek whose quantitative and accurate models for the motion of the Sun and Moon survive. To get to these models, he certainly made use of the observations and perhaps the mathematical techniques accumulated over centuries by the Chaldeans from Babylonia. He had a trigonometric table. It looks like he solved some problems of spherical trigonometry with the table. With his solar and lunar theories and his trigonometry, he was perhaps the first to develop a reliable method to predict solar eclipses. His other well-known achievements include the discovery of precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe. He might also have invented the armillary sphere which first appeared during his century and was used by him during the creation of much of the star catalogue. It would be three centuries before Claudius Ptolemaeus' synthesis of astronomy would make the work of Hipparchus obsolete; it is heavily dependent on it in many areas.
Images for kids
Diagram used in reconstructing one of Hipparchus's methods of determining the distance to the moon. This represents the earth-moon system during a partial solar eclipse at A (Alexandria) and a total solar eclipse at H (Hellespont).
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