Cosmic Canvas: Planetary bodies, India 1700s


Planetary bodies. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images

We've covered Indian astronomy a few different times before here at STBYM, specifically in discussing the giant Jantar Mantar sundial and the convergence of Hinduism and astronomy in the consideration of eclipse -- you'll find that last one explored in both blog and podcast forms. Today's Cosmic Canvas post returns to this fascinating topic: Behold an 18th century illustration from Western India depicting the planetary bodies and the distances between them. You'll notice Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and other planets along with the suns and moon.

The illustration comes from an 18th century version of The Sangrahanisutra, a cosmological Sanskrit text composed in 1136 by Shrichandra Muni. It features ideas about the structure of the universe derived from Jainism [source: Victoria and Albert Museum].


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.