The knowledge of astronomy is one field that India has excelled in.
Dirghatama is considered to be the 1st Astronomer/ observer in the Indian tradition.
Dhirga means long and Tama is darkness. So an astronomer is the one who studies for long in darkness.
The word for astronomy in the Indian text is Jyotisha. The term Jyotisha is also used to indicate astrology. The term Jyotisha is drawn from the Samskrtword Jothi, meaning a luminous body.
Astrology Vs Astronomy:
Astrology is a predictive field which deals only with the zodiac belt, Rashi belt of stars and the transit of the sun, moon and the five planets namely Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn within this belt and its probable impact on earth and earthlings.
In contrast, astronomy deals with the whole sky and not just the zodiac belt.
There is nothing predictive in astronomy; it is clearly an observational, mathematical science.
Scientific Indian astronomy:
The scientific aspects of Indian Jyotisha, astronomy we discuss in this subject capsule are:
- Heleocentric view in Indian Astronomy
- Scientific naming of planets and stars
- Distances in space
- Measurement of astral bodies
These collectively go to show that Indian Jyotishi is a science par excellence that the ancient Indians have developed. It continued to be observed through the ages the astronomers who have written the series of astronomical treaties, a rich contribution of Indians to the world of astronomical sciences.