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The medieval Moon in a matrix: double argument tables for lunar motion

Astronomers have always considered the motion of the Moon as highly complicated, and this motion is decisive in determining the circumstances of such critical celestial phenomena as eclipses. Table-makers devoted much ingenuity in trying to find ways to present it in tabular form. In the late Middle Ages, double argument tables provided a smart and compact solution to address this problem satisfactorily, and many tables of this kind were compiled by both Christian and Jewish astronomers. This paper presents multiple examples of the diversity of approaches adopted by compilers of tables who used this powerful tool, and brings to light intellectual interactions among them that are otherwise hidden from view.

Archive for History of Exact Sciences · March 2019

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