The Origin of Astronomy in Russia

  1. Lemma
  2. Зарождение астрономии в России
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines - Modes of interaction > Orthodox critique of science - Natural and the supernatural > Pseudoscience
  6. 19-08-2018
  7. Зарождение астрономии в России
  8. AstroNautica. Исследования космоса
  9. Heliocentric theory - History of the Russian Orthodox Church - History of Science - astronomy - Copernicus - pseudoscience - geocentrism
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Зарождение астрономии в России. <em>AstroNautica. Исследования космоса</em>. Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> </p>
    1. The geocentric model of universe developed by Cosmas Indicopleustes, a 6th century Byzantine merchant, and later hermit and author, was popular in Medieval Russia. According to this theory, the Earth had a rectangular form and celestial objects were moved by angels. Later, in the 14th -15th centuries, “pseudoscience astrology” came to Russia, claiming that the stars influenced human existence.

      In the same period, in the 11th century, scientific astronomy started developing in the area of present day Uzbekistan. Al Biruni (973-1048), a scholar from Khwarezm (part of the Persian Empire at the time), proposed a new way of calculating the Earth’s size. The calculation was close to modern calculations. He also reflected on the Earth’s trajectories in space long before Copernicus (1473-1543). Ulugh Beg (1394-1449) built one of the largest observatories of its time in Samarkand in 1420. Beg also elaborated an accurate map of the stars and their classification.

      In the 17th century, Copernicus’ heliocentric theory became known in Russia. Hieromonk of the Russian Orthodox Church and well known-educator Epiphanius Slavinetysky (1600-1675) wrote a book based on Copernicus’ ideas called Zertsalo Vseya Vselennoyy (Mirror of All the Universe). The Russian Orthodox Church did not like the revolutionary idea of the Earth being an ordinary planet with the sun at the centre of the universe. It also did not like further development of the theory by Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) who suggested that other stars are suns with their own planets around them.

      Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725) had a great interest in astronomy and established a navigation school in Moscow in 1700, which had its own observatory. Peter the Great’s statesman and scientist Jacob Bruce (1669-1735) popularized Copernicus’ ideas in Russia. Bruce also translated works of the Dutch mathematician and astronomer Christiaan Hyugens (1629-1695). At this time the first planetarium was opened in Russia, popularizing astronomy. All this campaign faced heavy criticism from Russian conservatives, especially among the clergy, who were against this “intellectual corruption” and cursed Copernicus, saying that all this lead to “spiritual death.” However, they could not change the State policy. The Russian Academy of Sciences, established in 1724, had its own observatory and became the main centre for astronomy in the country.