Chinese astronomy was 800 years ahead of the west

The Chinese Dunhuang ‘Star Chart’ shown here was the world’s first atlas of the stars. Europe did not produce its own first star chart for another eight centuries (Credit: Wikipedia)

The world’s first atlas of the stars was produced by Chinese astronomers. This achievement came eight centuries before Europeans managed to produce their own chart, thus underlining the superiority of Chinese medieval astronomy.

We discuss how exactly the Chinese astronomers mapped the stars, how their star chart was lost, and dramatically found again, and the central part that astronomy played in Imperial rule of this vast nation.

Listen: Interview with French astrophysicist, Dr Jean Marc Bonnet-Bidaud

Broadcast as part of the Science Spinning show on 103.2 Dublin City FM on 01/09/2011

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