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Aditya-L1 in line with a glorious tradition

by Mohan Sundara Rajan

The fascination with Aditya, one of numerous names of the Sun in India, is deeply ingrained in our spiritual, cultural and architectural traditions. A deep knowledge of the solar phenomena is reflected in the architecture of many temples in the country. For example, the famous Konarak temple in Orissa, the Sun temple in Madheva in Gujarat and the Gavigangadhareswara temple in Bengaluru are but a few places of worship so designed that solar rays illuminate the deity regularly every year in line with the passage of the Sun. Yet amidst the garlands of worship, there were gems of rational thought that happily coexisted.

A thousand years before Copernicus, India’s astronomer, Aryabhatta, (born in 476 A.D.) pointed out that the Earth goes round the Sun and moves eastward and gave remarkably accurate measurements of the Earth’s rotation causing day and night as well as its age.

The telescope did arrive in India before the British gained power. Emperor....

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