Astronomy

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The Most Beautiful Astronomical Atlas of the 17th Century. A Fine Copy in Contemporary Color

Cellarius, Andreas (ca. 1596-1665)
Harmonia Macrocosmica seu Atlas Universalis et Novus, totius universi creati Cosmographiam Generalem, et Novam exhibens.

Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1661

53 x 33 cm. 364 pages. Collation: π1 (engraved t.p.), [?]7, (a)-(z)2, (aa)-(hh)2, (ii)1; A-Z2, Aa-Zz2, Aaa-Iii2. Complete with the additional engraved title page, printed title page, and 29 double-page engraved plates.

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The first 21 plates constitute a historical survey of cosmological theories, illustrating the motions of the sun and planets according to Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The last eight plates are celestial hemispheres and planispheres depicting the constellations. Ten of the plates (9-11, 13, 15, 16, 18-21) are the work of Johannes van Loon (d. 1686). The allegorical title page is the work of Frederik Hendrik van den Hove (1628/29-1698).

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Bibliographical references: Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, I:801B; Ashworth Jr., William B., “Allegorical Astronomy: Baroque Scientists encoded their most Dangerous Opinions in Art”, The Sciences, 25, (1985), nr. 5, 34-37

Comets, Meteors, & Using Reptiles to Forecast the Weather - With Contemporary Annotations and Additions

COMETS. METEORS. PROGNOSTICATION. Willsford, Thomas (about 1612-after 1658)
Natures secrets. Or, the admirable and wonderfull history of the generation of meteors. Particularly describing, the temperatures and qualities of the four elements, the heights, magnitudes, and influences of the fixt and wandring stars: the efficient and finall causes of comets, earthquakes, deluges, epidemicall diseases, and prodigies of precedent times; registred by the students of nature. Their conjecturall presages of the weather, from the planets mutuall aspects, and sublunary bodies: with the proportions and observations on the weather-glass, with philosophicall paraphrases rendred explicitely, usefull at sea and land. By the industry and observations of Thomas Willsford, Gent

London: printed for Nath. Brook, at the Angel in Cornhill, 1658

Octavo: 15.5 x 9.5 cm. [14], 199, [1] p. With an added portrait. Collation: A-N8, O4 (lacking initial blank and final advert leaves.)

$7,500.00

First edition –and a unique copy- of this work on meteorological phenomena (including comets), weather prognostication, and the terrestrial effects of celestial and sublunary events, by the mathematician and instrument-maker Thomas Willsford.

Willsford opens his work with a chapter on cosmology, in which he includes tables giving the ascension, declination, and magnitude of stars in each of the constellations in the northern and southern hemispheres.

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ESTC R204119; Wing W2875

An Eclipse produces a Wondrous Egg

ECLIPSES. CURIOSITIES. Rovida, Sebastiano
Figura e Descrizione d’ un Uovo Mirabile, che ha l’ Effigie dell’ Eclissi del Sole Naturalmente improntata su la Superficie des Guscio.

Milan: Appresso Giuseppe Marelli, 1748

Quarto: 24.5 x 18.7 cm. [16] pp.

$3,900.00

A bizarre account of an egg, laid in Borgosesia, diocese of Novara, during a solar eclipse. The author, Sebastiano Rovida, a Novarese "doctor of philosophy and medicine", gives a detailed description of the egg and analyzes the possible causes of this small wonder.

He writes, "During the solar eclipse of July 25, 1748, a chicken laid an egg that had an image of the eclipse upon its shell.

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The Controversy over the use of Telescopic Sights. Hevelius observes the Skies with Edmond Halley Two Months Before his Observatory is Lost to Fire

Hevelius, Johannes (1611-1687)
Johannis Hevelii Annus climactericus, sive Rerum uranicarum observationum annus quadragesimus nonus; exhibens diversas occultationes, tam planetarum, quàm fixarum post editam machinam coelestem; nec non plurimas altitudines meridianas solis, ac distantias planetarum, fixarumq́ue, eo anno, quousque divinaconcessit benignitas, impetratas: cum amicorum nonnullorum epistolis, ad rem istam spectantibus: & continuatione historiae novæ stellæ in collo Ceti, ut & annotationum rerum coelestium ...

Danzig: Sumptibus auctoris, typis D.F. Rhetii, 1685

Folio: 34.8 x 22.5 cm. [6] lvs. 24, 196 pp. Collation: )( 6, )(4, )()(4, )()()(4, A-Z4, AA6. With engraved title page vignette and 7 (1 double-page) engraved plates.

$35,000.00

“Annus Climactericus” was the last of Hevelius’ works published in the author’s lifetime. The book comprises observations of the planets, sun, moon, and fixed stars, many of which were made alongside the English astronomer Edmond Halley. The observations were made from 8 January until 25 September 1679, subsequent to the publication of the second volume of Hevelius’ “Machina Coelestis”, almost the entire press run of which was lost in the fire that destroyed Hevelius’ observatory on 26 September 1679.

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VD17 39:125045B; DSB 6, 363; Honeyman 1675. For a thorough discussion of the Hevelius-Hooke controversy, see Saridakis, “Converging Elements in the Development of Late Seventeenth-Century Disciplinary Astronomy: Instrumentation, Education, and the Hevelius-Hooke Controversy”, p. 129 ff.; For an assessment of the relative accuracy of Halley’s and Hevelius’ computations at Danzig, see Cook, “Edmond Halley: Charting the Heavens and the Seas”, p. 93 ff.; For Hevelius’ work on the binary star Mira Ceti, see Hatch, “Hevelius- History and Identity”, in “Change and Continuity in Early Modern Cosmology”, p 158 ff.; For D. Capellus’ contemporary account of the fire and a detailed inventory of Hevelius’ losses, see MacPike, “Hevelius, Flamsteed, Halley”, Appendix I. (London, 1937)

The Possibility of Life on Other Planets. Huygens’ “Cosmotheoros” in English

Huygens, Christiaan (1629-1695)
The Celestial Worlds Discover'd: Or, Conjectures Concerning the Inhabitants, Plants and Productions of the Worlds in the Planets. Written in Latin by Christianvs Hvygens, and inscrib'd to his brother Constantine Hvygens, Late Secretary to his Majesty King William. The Second Edition, corrected and enlarged.

London: Printed for James Knapton, at the Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, 1722

Octavo: 17.1 x 10.5 cm. vi, 162 pp. A-K8, L4. + five folding plates.

$6,500.00

This English edition of Huygens' posthumously published "Cosmotheoros" was first printed in the same year of the first Latin edition. In a letter dated January 9th, 1695, Huygens informed his brother, Constantijn, that he had finished the work. In that same year, Huygens died. In his will, he requested that his brother see that the work be published. In 1697, Constantijn too passed away before the printing was completed.

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ESTC T53996; Honeyman Catalogue, Part IV, 1732 (1698 ed.); cf. Lalande p. 334; Weidler p. 502; Grassi p. 357

The First Printed Illustrations of the Constellations

Hyginus, Caius Julius (fl. 2nd century)
Poeticon astronomicon. Edited by Jacobus Sentinus and Johannes Lucilius Santritter.

Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 14 October, 1482

Quarto: 20 x 14.6 cm. Collation: a-f8 g10 (a1 blank, a2r dedication to M. Fabius [Quintilianus?], a3r text, g9r commendatory poem by Jacobus Sentinus, g10r poem and verse colophon by Johannes Santritter, g10v blank). 58 leaves. 31 lines. Types 3:91G (text), 7:92G (heading on a2r), 91 Gk (a few words). Title on a2r printed in red, 11-, 7-, 5- and 3-line white-on-black woodcut initials. 47 half-page woodcuts, probably designed by Johannes Santritter, of the constellation and planet figures.

$45,000.00

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Hyginus’ “Poeticon Astronomicon”, illustrated with 47 half-page woodcuts of the constellations and the planets personified. The text is set in a pleasing Gothic. The text of Hyginus was first published in an unillustrated edition at Ferrara in 1475.

The “Poeticon Astronomicon” (more correctly, the “Astronomica”) is an ancient Roman work on the constellations chiefly based on the work of the Greek scientist Eratosthenes (3rd c.

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BMC V, 286; BSB-Ink H-459; CIBN H-334; Essling 285; Goff H-560; HC 9062*; Hind II, p. 462; IGI 4959; Klebs 527.2; Pollard/Perrins 31; Redgrave 30; Sander 3472

A Cosmic Fiction - The Rare First Edition of Kircher's "Ecstatic Journey"

Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680)
Itinerarivm exstaticvm qvo mvndi opificivm, id est coelestis expansi, siderumque tam errantium, quàm fixorum natura, vires, proprietates, singulorumque compositio & structura, ab infimo telluris globo, vsque ad vltima mundi confinia, per ficti raptus integumentum explorata, noua hypothesi exponitur ad veritatem. Interlocvtoribvs Cosmiele et Theodidacto [Bound with:] Iter extaticvm II. qui & mundi subterranei prodromvs dicitur. Qvo geocosmi opificivm, sive terrestris globi structura, vna cum abditis in ea constitutis arcanioris naturæ reconditorijs, per ficti raptus integumentum exponitur ad veritatem. In III. dialogos distinctum ...

Rome: typis Vitalis Mascardi, 1656 and 1657

Large quarto: 4 prelim. lvs., 464, [24] pages. Collation: +4, [Maltese cross] A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Ppp4 II. 12 prelim. lvs., 237, [13] p. Collation: [maltese cross]4, [two maltese cross]4, [three maltese crosses]4, [Maltese cross] A-Z4, Aa-Gg4, Hh6 (-Hh6 blank).

$9,400.00

In this controversial work, Kircher synthesizes elements of Copernicanism and the mystical cosmology of the heretic Giordano Bruno, while ostensibly adhering to the Church-approved Tychonic model of the solar system.

“In Kircher’s “Ecstatic Journey”, a certain Theodidactus, a personification of Kircher himself, has a dream of a journey through the heavens guided by the angel Cosmiel.

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I. Backer-Sommervogel, Vol. 4, Col. 1056; II. Backer-Sommervogel, V 4, Col. 1057

The Composition of the Cosmos: Kircher’s Ecstatic Celestial Journey

Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680); Schott, Gaspar (1608-1666)
Iter exstaticum coeleste, quo mundi opificium, id est, coelestis expansi, siderumque tam errantium, quàm fixorum natura, vires, proprietates, singulorumque compositio et structura, ab infimo telluris globo, usque ad ultima mundi confinia, per ficti raptus integumentum explorata, novâ hypothesi exponitur ad veritatem, interlocutoribus Cosmiele et Theodidacto: hâc secundâ editione prælusionibus & scholiis illustratum; ac schematismis necessariis, qui deerant, exornatum; nec non à mendis, quæ in primam romanam editionem irrepserant, expurgatum, ipso auctore annuente

Würzburg: heirs of J.A. & Wolfgang Endter, 1660

Quarto: 19.8 x 16 cm. [ ]4, [ ]4, [ ]4, A-Z4; Aa-Zz4; Aaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Tttt4, Uuuu2. With an engraved title page and twelve full-paged engraved plates.

$9,400.00

In this controversial work, Kircher synthesizes elements of Copernicanism and the mystical cosmology of the heretic Giordano Bruno, while ostensibly adhering to the Church-approved Tychonic model of the solar system.

“In Kircher’s “Ecstatic Journey”, a certain Theodidactus, a personification of Kircher himself, has a dream of a journey through the heavens guided by the angel Cosmiel.

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Merrill 12 & 14; De Backer Sommervogel IV, 1056-57.14; Lalande, 275-276; Caillet, II, 5776

Renaissance Science and its Medieval Antecedents

Sacrobosco, Johannes de (ca. 1195 – ca. 1256 A.D.); Regiomontanus, Johannes (1436-1476); Peurbach, Georg von (1423-1461)
Sphaera mundi [with] Johannes Regiomontanus: Disputationes contra Cremonensia deliramenta [and] Georg von Peurbach: Theoricae novae planetarum.

Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 6 July 1482

Quarto: 19.5 x 14.3 cm. 60 lvs. Collation: a-g8, h4. 30-31 lines, Gothic type

$38,000.00

A fine copy of Erhard Ratdolt’s beautiful printing of Sacrobosco’s “Sphere”, the core astronomical textbook from the Middle Ages to the early 16th century. This edition is the first to include key texts by two of the most influential 15th c. astronomers: Johannes Regiomontanus and Georg Peurbach.

Working in the vein of the Renaissance humanists, Peurbach and his student Regiomontanus sought out the extant scientific writings of antiquity, the classical foundations of medieval European and Arabic science.

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ISTC ij00405000; BMC V 286; Goff J405; Hain-Copinger 14110

The Jesuit Astronomical Observatory at Beijing. With 105 Double-Page Woodcuts of Astronomical Instruments & the Observatory

Verbiest, Ferdinand, S.J. (1623-1688)
Ling-t’ai I-hsiang t’u or Hsin-chih I-hsiang t’u [trans.: A Newly Made Collection of Astronomical Instruments]

[Beijing: presented to the Emperor 6 March 1674

Small folio, Two Volumes: 39.5 x 19.9 cm. 106 double-page woodcuts.

$750,000.00

First edition, printed by the Jesuits in Beijing, of this magnificent woodcut book depicting the observatory and scientific instruments designed by the Jesuits for the emperor of China. This is a very rare book and one of the greatest masterpieces of Sino-European printing. This is one of only 46 copies known (of which 3 can no longer be located) and is 1 of only 2 copies known to still be in private hands.

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Chapman, Allan, “Tycho Brahe in China: the Jesuit Mission in Peking and the Iconography of European Instrument-making Processes: in Annals of Science, Vol. 41 (1984), pp. 417-43–(gving a detailed technical exposition of the illustrations in this work). Cordier, Sinica, 1451. Golvers, Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. (1623-1688) and the Chinese Heaven, no. LO 12 in his census. Sommervogel VIII, 575.

European Astronomy in 17th c. China. With the Engraving of The Astronomical Observatory in Beijing

Verbiest, Ferdinand, S.J. (1623-1688)
Astronomia Europaea sub Imperatore Tartaro Sinico Cam Hy appellato ex umbra in lucem revocata

Dillingen: Typis & sumptibus Joannis Caspari Bencard, 1687

Quarto: 19 x 16 cm. (8), 126, (2) p. Collation: )(4, A-Q4

$84,000.00

Verbiest and the New Chinese Astronomical Observatory:

In 1669 the Belgian Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest, with the blessing of the K’ang Hsi Emperor, embarked upon a project to build a new Imperial astronomical observatory of Beijing (Peking). The construction of the new observatory, the replacement of the outdated and far less accurate Chinese instruments, and the introduction of European instruments that used the Western sexagesimal system of 360 degrees (rather than the Chinese system), marked, in a concrete way, the full adoption of European science by the Chinese, a process that had been underway since the beginning of the 17th century, and which had been fraught with set-backs, controversy, and violent opposition.

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De Backer-Sommervogel, VIII, 580, 24; Streit, Bibliotheca Missionum, V, 2267, III, 14; Cordier, Sinica 1451; Walravens, China illustrata 198; Löwendahl, China illustrate Nova, I, 185; Golvers, ed. The Astronomia Europaea of Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J.; Golvers, Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. (1623-1688) and the Chinese Heaven

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