Friday, January 1, 2010

Ptolemy's Cosmology

Last night I was discussing the Rambam's view of the planets with my friend Aviad. Rambam basically used Ptolemy's erath centered model. I remember I once came across a great animation on the web, but could not find it. Well now I have, so I thought I would share it with all of you.

Flash animation of Ptolemy's universe. (needs MS Internet Explorer)

It shows the whole known universe and you can scale in to just see the center (earth & moon) or the whole cosmos, which did not include too much in Ptolemy's day. You can really get a good idea of what Ptolmey meant by "solid crystalline spheres", and how they all fit exactly one in the other.

Actually, before you watch that one, you can check out this much simplified Java simulation of the Ptolemaic System - (at Paul Stoddard's Animated Virtual Planetarium, Northern Illinois University) This shows the whole solar system at a glance without the correct scale or many of the details.

While I was searching, I came across another site Geocentricity by the Association for Biblical Astronomy
This is an apparently Christian site, but probably most Haredi (and Orthodox?) jews would agree with most of the conclusions.  Kind of scary.


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