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A Perspective into the Eclipse Observations and Records of the Qing Dynasty ( p . 44 )

Eclipse observation and record was a very important ritual formality in old Chinese dynasties. As generally impresses, this process was objective and scientific. This paper analyzed the eclipse data collected from the observational reports submitted to throne by the Astronomical Bureau of the Qing Dynasty·It was discovered that the data in the observational reports from late Kangxi to early Xianfeng reigns were very largely transcribed from the eclipse predictions issued by the Astronomical Bureau before every eclipse. This indicates that the process of eclipse observation and record in the Qing Dynasty was not so objective and scientific as researchers imagines.The most impossible reasons for this phenomenon are that 1·the authorities of Dynasty upheld the supremacy of the so一called "royally decided" calendar and shared an unreasonable conceit on the precision of that calendar in such things as eclipse prediction; 2 .missionaries wanted to conceal the errors in order to maintain their status in government of Qing Dynasty and to spread the Christianism; 3 .the officials in Qintianjian (Astronomy Bureau of Qing Dynasty) wanted to keep their own benefits.