Abstract - Al-Sufi’s Book of the Images of the Fixed Stars
Dr. Rob van Gent
Around 964 CE, the Persian astronomer Abu al-Husayn ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Umar al-Sufi (903-986) compiled an illustrated treatise on the constellations known as the Kitab Suwar al-Kawakib al-Thabitah (Book of the Images of the Fixed Stars).
Based upon the star tables in the Almagest of Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, al-Sufi not only revised Ptolemy's magnitude estimates of many stars and adjusted the stellar positions to his own epoch, but also expanded on Ptolemy's scientific description of the classical constellations by adding information on indigenous Arab star lore drawn from various sources. Al-Sufi also added accurate star maps, enabling an observer to recognise the constellations in the sky or on a celestial globe.
Originally written in Arabic, al-Sufi's work was later translated into Persian and also into Latin. For more than five hundred years, Al-Sufi's star atlas was regarded as the standard source book on celestial cartography and Arabic star lore and his work had great influence on later Islamic and European celestial cartographers.
by: Dr. Rob van Gent, Sat 19 June, 2010