Sun Dial of Anadolu University Project

Ottoman scientist Taküyiddin calculated solar parameters using the “three-point method” known in Islamic world since al-Biruni first used in the West by Copernicus & Thyco, Takuyiddin’s results were better. Taküyiddin Made contributions to mathematics, and construction of accurate mechanical clocks.

Something happened very interesting in Istanbul. When the comet of 1577 (The same comet was observed by Tycho as well) appeared, the Sultan wanted to know if this was a good omen for the upcoming Persian campaign, or a bad one. Takiyüddin Efendi predicted victory. The army indeed emerged victorious, but when they were on their way back, an epidemic of the plague spread in the country, and decimated the army as well. Whatever the reason, Şeyhülislam (chief religious adviser of the Sultan) Ahmed Şemseddin Efendi, who saw Hoca Sa’düddin Efendi as a rival, claimed that wherever observatories were constructed and men dared to pry into the secrets of the heavens, divine punishment resulted in the form of natural disasters, epidemics or wars. He used the rapid collapse of Ulugh Beg’s empire and the current situation as examples. The Sultan got scared and in 1579 (80?) ordered the observatory demolished. This order was executed by the Navy, which destroyed the observatory by cannon fire. The eventual fate of Takiyuddin Efendi seems to be uncertain; Türk Ansiklopedisi gives his death with a question mark (Istanbul 1585?). The Istanbul Observatory was the last great observatory in Islam. With its demolition, leadership in astronomy passed over completely to Europe.

This is a story we have to remember forever to get our lesson, in a good and the bad way. This Sun Dail of Anadolu University project realized in memory of Takuyiddin and all Turkish scientists and astronomy society in 2009 which was the world astronomy year.

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