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Thread: Did the ancient Indians know about all the planets in our solar system?

  1. #1 Did the ancient Indians know about all the planets in our solar system? 
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    I read online that the planet uranus wasn't discovered until the invention of telescope. My Indian friend provided me with a few sources (mainly websites) which stated that Indian vedas talked about planets and our solar system. The Hindu vedas are quite intriguing, they have 'ayurveda' which apparently cures almost every diseases known to men (cancer, ALS etc). I have read testimonies of patients who have successfully been cured. I'm just curious. Did Indians really knew well about our solar system? HOw is it possible for these ancient people to come up with these ideas in an age where there weren't machines or telescopes or any other modern scientific equipments for that matter. (I'm aware of sun dials and yantras that they have used)


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrh214 View Post
    I read online that the planet uranus wasn't discovered until the invention of telescope. My Indian friend provided me with a few sources (mainly websites) which stated that Indian vedas talked about planets and our solar system.
    You can "prove" that they knew about everything known to modern science. If you carefully select the "right" passages and interpret them "correctly".
    All you have ask is: if they knew about it before hand how they only mention it AFTER everyone else says "Hey look!".
    It is, as in the vast majority of claims like this (e.g. the "scientific miracles" in the Qu'ran), merely an instance of post-fact adjustment of the translation.

    The Hindu vedas are quite intriguing, they have 'ayurveda' which apparently cures almost every diseases known to men (cancer, ALS etc). I have read testimonies of patients who have successfully been cured.
    This too is b*llocks.
    The claims are entirely unsupported except by anecdote. I.e. not supported at all.

    Did Indians really knew well about our solar system? HOw is it possible for these ancient people to come up with these ideas in an age where there weren't machines or telescopes or any other modern scientific equipments for that matter. (I'm aware of sun dials and yantras that they have used)
    It's not possible.
    They didn't know.

    The outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not part of classical Vedic astrology.
    Thus in some modern books, on so-called Vedic astrology, you will find reference to Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. We warn the student to be very careful of such authors who deviate from the guru-parampara.
    The origins of Vedic astrology credited to the great sage Maharishi Parasara occurred at least several thousand years before Pluto and the other outer planets were “visible” to astronomers.1 Therefore, in traditional Jyotish or Vedic astrology, the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are not utilized

    The above, of course, is ignoring the fact that astrology, Vedic or otherwise, is poppycock, but does show that the outer planets weren't known.


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    The word "planet" comes from an older word for "wandering star". Most ancient cultures knew about the planets that area easy to find, like Mars and Venus (which are so named because the Romans actually called them by those names.) They didn't necessarily know that the planets were worlds like Earth. They just knew they didn't stay put like the other stars, and in some cases (such as Mars) they had an odd color to them.

    The stars were important, partly because ancient people had nothing better to do at night, partly because various oracles claimed to be able to use the stars to predict future events, and partly because they could be used to keep track of what the season or date was. For sailors, they were the only practical means to navigate.

    Saying that any culture knew about Uranus, however, is a sketchy proposition. Even if their vision of the solar system had 8 or 9 planets in it, that doesn't automatically mean their 8th planet was the same as our 8th planet today. They might have considered one of Jupiter's Moons to be a planet, or (somewhat less likely) they might have treated an asteroid from the asteroid belt as a planet.

    Another possibility is that if, some particular number was "lucky" to them, or significant to their religion, like the number 8 or 9, they might have imagined an additional planet into existence, which they had never seen, just to bring the number into alignment with their religious view. I think Shinto and Odinism both place significance on the number 9, for example, so I would not be surprised if the astronomers of those religions had invented an 8th and 9th planet without actually seeing it.
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    Let's examine Kojax's argument. Could the Indian astrologers have seen 1) Uranus 2) One of Jupiter's moons 3) an asteroid belt asteroid, without some form of telescope?

    What are the apparent magnitudes of these objects?

    Uranus - 5.32 to 5.95
    Vesta - 5.1 to 8.48
    Ceres - 6.64 to 9.34
    Europa - 5.29 at opposition
    Ganymede - 4.62 at opposition
    Io - 5.02 at opposition
    Callisto - 5.65 at opposition

    In dark skies an observer with normal vision can detect down to magnitude 6.5. Clearly all the objects fall, at least part of the time, into the range where they could be seen. Objections that the Jovian satellites would be swamped by the light from Jupiter are discussed here.

    In conclusion, there is no clear cut physical reason why the ancients could not have seen any of the objects mentioned by Kojax.
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