The Birth of Modern Astronomy
"An early seventeenth century margin drawing from the folio in Jahāngīr's Album showing an astrologer surrounded by his equipment—an astrolabe, zodiac tables and an hour glass (Werner Forman Archive/Naprestek Museum, Prague). " (Source)
Some people unaware of what was accomplished during Muslim civilisation believe that astronomy died with the Greeks, and was brought to life again by Nicolas Copernicus, the 15th-century Polish astronomer who is famous for introducing the sun-centered theory of the solar system, which marked the beginning of modern astronomy—even though it was not universally accepted.
However, many historians now think it is not a coincidence that his geometrical models for the Sun, Moon, and five naked-eye planets are identical to those prepared by Ibn al-Shatir more than a century before him.
It is known that Copernicus relied heavily on the comprehensive astronomical treatise by Al-Battani, which included star catalogs and planetary tables. The mathematical devices discovered by scholars in Muslim civilisation before Copernicus, referred to in modern terms as linkages of constant length vectors rotating at constant angular velocities, are exactly the same as those used by Copernicus. The only important difference between the two was that the former’s Earth was ﬁxed in space, whereas the latter's had it orbiting around the Sun. Copernicus also used instruments that were particular to astronomy in the East, like the parallactic ruler, which had previously only been used in Samarkand and Maragha observatories.* This instrument has been described by Ptolemy in his Almagest.
Get the full story from 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization Reference (4th Edition) Annotated.
*On Ibn al Shatir impact on Copernicus, see:-N. Swerdlow and O. Neugebauer, Mathematical Astronomy in Copernicus ‘‘De revolutionibus'' (New York: Springer Verlag, 1984). -G. Saliba, available at:
A 15th-century Persian manuscript of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi’s observatory at Maragha depicts astronomers at work teaching astronomy, including how to use an astrolabe. The instrument hangs on the observatory’s wall.
(Source: 1001 inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization, 3rd edition, Page 269)