From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Conon of Samos (ca. 280 BC - ca. 220 BC) was a
astronomer and mathematician. He is primarily remembered
for naming the constellation Coma Berenices.
Conon was born on Samos, Ionia, and possibly died in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt,
where he was court astronomer to Ptolemy III Euergetes. He named
the constellation Coma Berenices ("Berenice's Hair") after
Ptolemy's wife Berenice
II. She sacrificed her hair in exchange for her husband's safe
return from the Third
Syrian War, which began in 246 BCE. When the lock of hair
disappeared, Conon explained that the goddess had shown her favor
by placing it in the sky. Not all Greek astronomers accepted the
designation. In Ptolemy's
Berenices is not listed as a distinct constellation. However,
Ptolemy does attribute several seasonal indications (parapegma) to Conon. Conon
was a friend of the mathematician Archimedes whom he probably met in
Pappus states that the spiral of Archimedes was discovered by
Conon. Apollonius of Perga reported that
Conon worked on conic sections, and his work became the
basis for Apollonius' fourth book of the Conics.
Apollonius further reports that Conon sent some of his work to
Thrasydaeus, but that it was incorrect. Since this work has not
survived it is impossible to assess the accuracy of Apollonius'
In astronomy, Conon wrote in seven books his De
astrologia, including observations on solar eclipses. Ptolemy
further attributes seventeen "signs of the seasons" to Conon,
although this may not have been given in De astrologia.
Seneca writes that "Conon was a careful observer" and that he
"recorded solar eclipses observed by the Egyptians",
although the accuracy of this statement is doubted. The Roman Catullus writes that Conon
"discerned all the lights of the vast universe, and disclosed the
risings and settings of the stars, how the fiery brightness of the
sun is darkened, and how the stars retreat at fixed times."
Citations and footnotes