Astronomy in China developed along with writing and divination during the Shang Dynasty. The first inscriptions of star names were found on oracle bones. The concept of the twenty-eight mansions seems to have appeared during the rule of Wu Ding (1339–1281 BCE).
During the Warring states and especially the Han period, Chinese astronomers started keeping a detailed record of their observations.
Chinese astronomy was essentially different from traditional Wester astronomy because it was based on different principles.
It was equatorial, which means that it was focused on close examination of circumpolar stars, rather than on heliacal risings and settings of zodiac constellations.
The ancient Chinese were among the most determined and accurate observers of astronomic phenomena in the word. In ancient times, only the Islamic astronomers could compare with them.
The Chinese were thorough in keeping astronomical records. Thanks to that, now we know that Chinese astronomy hasn’t changed much from 1800 BCE onwards – but it did change a lot during earlier epochs.
Astronomy was a very important discipline in ancient China. The knowledge of astronomical phenomena and keeping accurate records of time was the domain of emperors.
For those reasons, emperors employed astronomers to work for them directly.Astronomy and astrology were entirely separated in ancient China.
The astronomers charted lunar eclipses and other regular events, while the astrologers tried to find omens in the sky.
While the Greek, Indian, and Islamic astronomers developed more theories, the Chinese beat them in accuracy.
Their main concern was to be as precise as possible and to refine their observations. As a result, they were able to chart and predict comets and meteor showers, novae, and other rare phenomena
How was astronomy related to divination and writing in ancient China?
The first inscriptions of star names were found on oracle bones.
Why Chinese astronomers are so important when they didn’t develop as many theories as their European colleagues did?
The Chinese were accountable for the accuracy of data, and precision was their main concern. Because of that, their observations were much more trustworthy than those of their European contemporaries.
What was the consequence of inaccurate astronomical prediction?
The astronomer would be sentenced to death.
What was the name of Chinese astronomer from the Tang dynasty period who realized that year was 365.24281481 days long?
His name was Zu Chongzhi.