Indian astronomy—the earliest textual mention of which is given in the religious literature of India (2nd millennium BCE)—became an established tradition by the 1st millennium BCE, when Jyotiṣa Vedānga and other ancillary branches of learning called Vedangas began to take shape. During the following centuries a number of Indian astronomers studied various aspects of astronomical sciences and global discourse with other cultures followed.Aryabhata

Early history – Early astronomy in India—like in other cultures— was intertwined with religion. The first textual mention of astronomical concepts comes from the Vedas—religious literature of India.  According to Sarma (2008): “One finds in the Rigveda intelligent speculations about the genesis of the universe from nonexistence, the configuration of the universe, the spherical self-supporting earth, and the year of 360 days divided into 12 equal parts of 30 days each with a periodical intercalary month.” More on Indian astronomy with relation to religion is given in the section below.

The cardinal directions are found in the Śulbasūtra (1st millennium BCE), a treatise containing mathematical applications used for altar construction. Mathematics and astronomical instruments were employed to calculate time after sunlight, daylight periods, computation of sunrise, computation of sunset, and general measurement of time. Ōhashi (1993) states that Jyotiṣa Vedānga astronomy gained a foothold between the 6th and the 4th centuries BCE.The common era saw the presence of numerous Siddhāntas, out of which the Surya-siddhānta was particularly notable.  Both the Yavanajataka and Romaka Siddhānta confirm that Indian and western astronomical sciences had been a part of a global scientific discourse (given in the section below).

The Pañcasiddhāntikā (Varahimira, 505 CE) approximates the method for determination of the meridian direction from any three positions of the shadow using Gnomon.  By the time of Aryabhata I the motion of planets was treated to be elliptical rather than circular.  Other topics included definitions of different units of time, eccentric models of planetary motion, epicyclic models of planetary motion, and planetary longitude corrections for various terrestrial locations.

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