Science

Hipparchus’ star map may have finally been found

Hipparchus’ star map may have finally been found

Hiparhova mapa zvijezda je možda konačno pronađena

Detail f. 53v, beginning of the first column of the subtext (Syriac supertext in dark brown, and faint traces of a few letters of the subtext). Credit: Museum of the Bible Collection. All rights reserved. © Museum of the Bible, 2021. Journal of the History of Astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1177/00218286221128289

A trio of researchers from CNRS, UMR, Tyndale House and Sorbonne Université, respectively, have found what could be the famous Hipparchus star map. In his work published in Journal of the History of AstronomyVictor Gysembergh, Peter Williams, and Emanuel Zingg describe a palimpsest manuscript found in the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula and what they believe it describes.

Historians have long believed that the star catalog was created long ago by the early Greek astronomer Hipparchus — his catalog was believed to represent the earliest map of the stars. But the lack of physical evidence of such a map left the record of the creation of the earliest star map to Ptolemy. In this new effort, researchers believe they have found part of a catalog created by Hipparchus between 162 and 127 BC.

Hiparhova mapa zvijezda je možda konačno pronađena

Detail f. 53v (multispectral image, from Early Manuscripts Electronic Library and University of Rochester’s Lazarus Project, processed by Keith T. Knox: enhanced Greek subtext appears in red below Syriac supertext in black). Credit: Museum of the Bible Collection. All rights reserved. © Museum of the Bible, 2021. Journal of the History of Astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1177/00218286221128289

The work began with the study of a palimpsest manuscript originally found in the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Catherine, now owned by the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. The team noted that the material on which the text was printed was written over text that had been scraped off, allowing for reuse – a common practice during the period. Intrigued, one of the team members asked a group of students to see if they could make out any of the previous text. One of them, Jamie Klair, found what appeared to be a line of text he had previously seen in a work by Eratosthenes the Astronomer.

Hiparhova mapa zvijezda je možda konačno pronađena

Detail f. 53v (yellow traces based on the full set of multispectral images). Credit: Museum of the Bible Collection. All rights reserved. © Museum of the Bible, 2021. Journal of the History of Astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1177/00218286221128289

Then, convinced that the subtext might be relevant, the manuscript was sent to the Electronic Library of Early Manuscripts, where it was scanned using various lighting techniques. The researchers were able to recover most of what was deleted. The transcribed text describes the positions of several constellations and other star positions. Using precession (the amount of Earth’s wobble), the team was able to determine not only the precision of the star’s coordinates but also the dates of the measurements. They found the coordinates to be quite accurate – more so than Ptolemy’s work. And the date when the mapping was made is 129 BC.

The researchers conclude that their assessment of the manuscript strongly suggests that it was created by Hipparchus and represents the oldest star map known to exist.


Long-lost catalog of stars discovered on Roman statue


More information:
Victor Gysembergh et al., New evidence for the Hipparchus star catalog revealed by multispectral imaging, Journal of the History of Astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1177/00218286221128289

© 2022 Science X Network

Citation: Hipparchus’ Star Map May Be Finally Found (2022 October 20) Retrieved October 20, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-hipparchus-stars.html

This document is subject to copyright. Except for any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.





#Hipparchus #star #map #finally

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button