Models and Precision: The Quality of Ptolemy’s Observations and Parameters
John P. Britton
This work, originally published in 1992, addresses the ancient and widely held view that Ptolemy was an inferior practical astronomer who manipulated the observations to fit his models. Examining the solar and lunar observations found in Almagest and the parameters of the models ostensibly derived from them, it finds scant evidence to support this view. Ptolemy’s lunar observations are no less accurate than those of his predecessors, and the individual errors of the lunar observations are as a whole consistent with what we would expect from naked eye observations.