Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 24, 2008 - Science - 576 pages
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The culmination of many years of research, this book discusses ancient and medieval eclipse observations and their importance in studying Earth's past rotation. This is the first major book on this subject in twenty years. The author has specialized for many years in the interpretation of early astronomical records and their application to problems in modern astronomy. The book contains an in-depth discussion of numerous eclipse records from Babylon, China, Europe and the Arab lands. The author provides translations of almost every record studied. He shows that although tides play a dominant long-term role in producing variations in Earth's rate of rotation--causing a gradual increase in the length of the day--there are significant and variable nontidal changes in opposition to the main trend. This book is intended for geophysicists, astronomers (especially those with an interest in history), historians and orientalists.
 

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Contents

a historical perspective
1
2 Tidal friction and the ephemerides of the Sun and Moon
33
3 Pretelescopic eclipse observations and their analysis
43
4 Babylonian and Assyrian records of eclipses
93
5 Investigation of Babylonian observations of solar eclipses
128
6 Timed Babylonian lunar eclipses
147
horizon phenomena
193
8 Chinese and other East Asian observations of large solar eclipses
213
13 Observations of eclipses by medieval Arab astronomers
456
14 Determination of changes in the length of the day
501
Appendix A Timed data
518
Appendix B Untimed data
524
References
527
Acknowledgements
539
Index of eclipse records
540
Index of places of observation
549

9 Other East Asian observations of solar and lunar eclipses
273
10 Records of eclipses in ancient European history
334
11 Eclipse records from medieval Europe
376
12 Solar and lunar eclipses recorded in medieval Arab chronicles
431

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