Ottoman Astronomical Institutions

In the Ottoman Empire all astronomical events had been, for centuries, monitored by the Munajjimbashi (chief astronomer), head of the leading astronomical institution. The chief astronomical institution dealt with matters related to astronomy and astrology as they pertained to the sultan and the state. The person who held the position of administrative head of those who were occupied with the “science of the stars” or astronomy was called the chief astronomer. Affiliated with the chief astronomer were those known as second-level astrono- mers (munajjim-i sâni) and four or five astronomers know as clerks (kâtip). As an institution, the munajjimbashilik emerged towards the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. In the Ottoman Empire it emerged as a body concerned with the preparation of calendars and astrological matters as well as the administration of the country's muvakkithanes (time keeping houses). Both the Istanbul Observatory of the Taqi al-Din Râsid in the sixteenth century and the School of Astronomical Sciences (Mekteb-i Fenn-i Nücûm), which opened in the nineteenth century to train astronomers and time keepers, were attached to the office of the chief astronomer. In this article we aimed to present the literature about the Ottoman astronomical institutions. But before this, the article aims to give some information about the institutions. Besides the chief astronomer's office (munajjimbashilik), the School of Astronomical Sciences (Mekteb-i Fenn-i Nücûm) and the Istanbul Observatory (Rasathâne-i Jadîd) the author gives literal information about time keeping houses (muvakkithane) and Imperial Observatory (Rasathâne-i Âmire) as well.


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