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2020-12-18 20:09:05
CASSINI, Gian Domenico [Jean-Dominique]
Ad principem Franciscum Estensem . de Cometa anni 1652 & 1653
Bartolomeo Soliani, Modena, 1653. CASSINI'S EXTREMELY RARE FIRST PUBLISHED WORK - PROVING THAT COMETS ARE CELESTIAL PHENOMENA. First edition, exceptionally rare, of the remarkable first publication of the great observational astronomer Gian Domenico Cassini, in which he demonstrated for the first time by observing their parallax that comets are celestial phenomena and not, as Aristotle had claimed, ignited exhalations from the earth (the comet is now designated C/1652 Y1). We have been unable to trace any other copy of this work in commerce, and only a handful of institutional copies. In 1652, just before Christmas, a comet was observed approaching the Earth, and it remained visible through the first week of January 1653. Cassini was then a guest in the astronomical observatory of his patron, the Marquis Cornelio Malvasia, inside the Villa di Panzano, near Castelfranco Emilia. Here, together with Malvasia and, occasionally, the Duke of Modena, Cassini spent many cold winter nights taking, with the observatory's telescope, accurate measurements of the comet's position, and elaborating a theory on its origin: "the observations I made [of the comet] authorized me to conclude that it had no sensible parallax and that it was above [the orbit] of Saturn." Each of Cassini's observations is accompanied by an engraved illustration in the text showing the position of the comet with respect to certain reference stars. The last two pages are dedicated to the description of the instrument at Panzano, illustrated on a beautiful engraving, used to determine the position of the comet with … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: SOPHIA RARE BOOKS [Koebenhavn V, Denmark]
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