Saturday, December 16, 2006

83)Al-Nitak, Al-Nilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Al-Deberan: Arabic-named stars in nearby constellations in space.

The belt of Orion is made up of three stars aligned in a straight line and their names(in Arabic) are Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, showcasing the significant muslim contribution to Astronomy during what is called the golden age of Islam. Other stars, called Aldeberan and Betelgeuse(also in Arabic), are found nearby as well, the former in the nearby Hyades constellation and the latter in the Orion constellation, girded by the belt of Orion.If you place your mouse on top of this picture:

you will see the different constellations light up, showing the relative positions of Betelgeuse, Aldeberan and the straight line 'belt' made up of the three stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.

Here is an excellent close up of the three Arabic-named stars making up the belt of Orion:

Last Saturday, December 9th 2006, the space shuttle went up into space to do some work at the international space station. The plume of smoke coming off the rocket was tracked up into space and the tail end of this plume of smoke ended up right next to the three stars making up the belt of Orion(as seen in two dimensions). They look like they are next to each other but, when the scenario is looked at in 3 dimensions, they are actually very far apart!. The international space station orbits barely 200 or so kilometers above the earth whereas the Orion constellation of nebulae and stars discussed above is about 1500 light years away from earth, or 15,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers away!!!!!.That would be 15 thousand trillion kilometers away from earth.

Astronomy was a natural early science for muslims to pursue during the golden age of Islam because the times for the 5 daily prayers, as well as the sightings of the new moon for the beginning and end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Chandraat for Satpanthi Ismailis, were and are all required to be determined astronomically.


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3