NUR AL-DIN IBN ISHAQ AL-BITRUJI (Alpetragius)
(Died 1204 C.E.)

by
Dr. A. Zahoor

Nur al-Din Ibn Ishaq Al-bitruji, known in the West as Alpetragius, was born in Morocco. He later migrated to Spain and lived in Seville (Arabic Isbiliah). He died at the beginning of the thirteenth century around 1204 C.E.

Al-Bitruji was a leading astronomer of his time. His 'Kitab-al-Hay'ah was popular in Europe in the thirteenth century. It was first translated into Hebrew and then from Hebrew into Latin. The Latin edition of his book was printed in Vienna in 1531 C.E. He attempted to modify Ptolemy's system of planetary motions, but was unsuccessful primarily because he followed Aristotle's notion of 'perfect' (circular) motion. However, other Spanish Arab astronomers have suggested an elliptical orbit for planetary motion.

Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) mention a surface feature of the moon after Al-Bitruji (Alpetragius). It is a crater twenty-six miles in diameter in the eighth section of the lunar chart. It has a small conical peak at its center and its terraced perpendicular walls and surrounding plain shine with noticeable brightness.

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