[THE APRIL 1921 LUNAR ECLIPSE] Takvim-i Sâl [Three yearbooks of 1917, 1919, 1921]: 27 Cumadü’l-ûla 1335 - 9 Cumade'l-âhir 1336 (1919) - 19 Cümadeluhra 1337 - 30 Cümadeluhra 1338 (1921) – 6 Cumadü'l-ûla 1333 - 15 Cumadü'l-ûla 1334 (1917)

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Matbaa-yi Osmânî, Istanbul, AH 1333-1335-1337 = [1917-1919-1921].

Original pink, greenish and yellow illustrated wrappers with astronomical instruments such as almucantar. 12mo. (12 x 9 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). 3 books: (64 p., 64 p., 64 p.), ills. Occasional foxing and creasing on covers, a tear on the second and third front wrappers, chipped extremities of pages of the second. Overall, good copies.  

Lithographed editions. First and only editions of these three yearbooks together including Hijri and Gregorian calculations, days, seasonal weather forecasts, important storms, times for prayer (namaz), the phases of the Moon, and solar and lunar eclipses prepared for public use in the periods of WW1 and the Occupation of Constantinople. The last yearbook has a lithographed illustration of the April 1921 Lunar Eclipse, according to the information by Hilmi, which only can be observed from Africa and South America.

The yearbooks were prepared and published by Müneccimbasi Hüseyin Hilmi, who was the last chief astrologer in the Ottoman Empire.

The person heading the astrologers & astronomers in the Ottoman Empire in general and was known as the “Müneccimbasi”. Beginning in the 16th century, chief astrologers began to compile things like calendars, imsakiyes (timetables for fasting hours), and zayiçes (astronomical tables for horoscopes) for the court and upper-level Ottoman dignitaries. However, the most important duty of chief astrologers was to prepare calendars. Until 1800 calendars were prepared according to the Uluğ Bey Zic (astronomical table); after this date they were prepared according to the Jacques Cassini Zic. Preparing zayiçes and imsakiyes before the fasting month of Ramazan was also among the duties of chief astrologers. The chief astrologers and sometimes the secondary astrologers used to calculate the most auspicious hour for events like the ascension to the throne, a declaration of war, birth, marriage, launching of ships, letting the royal horses out to pasture, and the sultan's transfer to his winter or summer residence. Many statesmen, chief among them the sultans, evaluated the chief astrologers according to the quality of their zayiçes, granting favours to those chief astrologers, the zayiçes of whom turned out to be exact. However, there were also sultans, like Abdülhamid I and Selim III, who did not believe in auspicious hours and zayiçes, but even these allowed this matter that they did not approve of to continue, since it had become a tradition. On the other hand, chief astrologers also monitored events like the passage of comets, earthquakes, fires, important astronomical phenomena like solar and lunar eclipses, and other important events, and they reported them to the palace, together with their commentary. In a way, institutions like the muvakkithanes (office of the timekeeper for prayers) also depended on the chief astrologers. In addition to this, Takiyüddin-i Rasıd administered his observatory, and chief astrologers like Hüseyin Hüsnü and Sadullah Efendi administered the Mekteb-i Fenn-i Nücum (Astronomical School). The chief astrologers were court employees, members of the class of religious scholars, and were part of the retinue of the chief doctor, who reported to the Silahtar aga (sword bearer of the Sultan); as such they were appointed and dismissed by the chief doctor.

The position of chief astrologer, which was officialized in the 16th century, survived until the end of the Ottoman Empire. When the last chief astrologer, Hüseyin Hilmi Efendi, died in 1924, no new chief astrologer was appointed in his place and the position was abolished. In its place, the position of chief muvakkit (timekeeper for prayers) was created.


A total lunar eclipse took place on Friday, April 22, 1921. This was the first total lunar eclipse of Saros cycle 130. A shallow total eclipse saw the Moon in relative darkness for 40 minutes and 6 seconds. The Moon was approximately 7% of its diameter into the Earth's umbral shadow and should have been significantly darkened. The partial eclipse lasted for 3 hours and 22 minutes in total.

Lunar saros series 130, repeating every 18 years and 11 days, has a total of 71 lunar eclipse events including 56 umbral lunar eclipses (42 partial lunar eclipses and 14 total lunar eclipses). Solar Saros 137 interleaves with this lunar saros with an event occurring every 9 years 5 days alternating between each saros series. (Wikipedia).

Özege 19524 - TBTK; 14044.; Özege 19517. As of February 2024, only Harvard University has two yearbooks of 1910 and 1914 (37614574, 37614537); and Bogaziçi University has only one yearbook of 1925 [sic. 1924].