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Novae coelestium orbium theoricae congruentes cum observationibus N. Copernici.Venice: ex officina Damiani Zenarii, 1589. First edition.
A very fine copy, from the Riccati library, of New Theories of the Celestial Orbs Agreeing with the Observations of Copernicus, Magini's principal astronomical treatise. The work is of interest for the sixteenth century reception of Copernicus: although Magini endorsed the unprecedented accuracy of Copernicus' calculation of celestial movements he nevertheless publically retained his belief in geocentrism, referring in the present work to "absurd hypotheses as Copernicus has imagined." He is the target in much of Galileo's revolutionary embrace of the Copernican system. However, there is strong evidence that Magini later embraced Copernicanism, in private if not in public (see below).

In this work Magini "took the position that Copernicus had so reformed astronomy that no correction of equal motions, or a very slight one, was now required... For although Copernicus had devised hypotheses which wandered far from verisimilitude, yet they corresponded closely to the phenomena.... He, therefore, collated the ideas of Ptolemy and Copernicus, adding new hypotheses of his own where they seemed necessary, and has written an introductory text or theory of the planets along these lines. He asserts that there was a great demand for such a theory of the planets which would abandon the outmoded Alfonsine hypotheses and conform his recent observations without such absurd hypotheses as Copernicus had imagined" (Thorndike VI.56).

Magini published ephemerides for the years 1581 to 1620, based on Reinhold's Prutenic tables, in 1582, and tables for the motion of the planets in 1585. In 1610, Kepler invited Magini to work with him on new tables. Magini was reluctant to go to Prague, but contributed to Kepler's project by publishing Supplementum Ephemeridum (1614). These were the first ephemerides to take into account Kepler's calculations in the Astronomia Nova (1609); they also contain an exchange of four letters between Magini and Kepler. Voelkel and Gingerich note that in Magini's letter of 26 May, there is a significant discrepancy between the extant manuscript and what Magini actually published in the Supplementum. In thanking Kepler for sending him a copy of his Dissertatio cum Sidereo Nuncio, Magini closed the letter by saying "we are both Copernicans" -an admission he excised from the published text-leaving little doubt that by 1614 Magini considered himself a Copernican.

Born in Padua, Magini (1555-1617) became professor of astronomy at Bologna in 1588, a position to which he was appointed over the young Galileo, and remained there until his death. Subsequent publications include his trigonometrical work De planis triangulis liber unicus (1592), an edition of Ptolemy's geography (1597), Tabulae primi mobilis (1604), De astrologica ratione (1607), and Primum mobile duodecim libris contentum (1609). From 1600 to 1610, Magini worked on the cartography of Italy, but the sixty maps were only printed as an atlas in 1620 after his death. Magini also worked in optics, publishing a book on concave mirrors in 1611, and constructing a large mirror for the emperor Rudolf II in Vienna. Magini had an extensive network of correspondents, including Brahe, Clavius, and Galileo, as well as Kepler.

Adams M-119; De Caro 103; Honeyman V 2098; Houzeau & Lancaster 12741; Riccardi I.2.65.5; DSB IX: 12-13; O. Gingerich, Science in the Age of Copernicus, Harvard Library Bulletin XXVI, no. 4 (1978), no. 42; Thorndike VI.56-9.. 4to (238 x 172 mm), ff. [xiv], 115, [1], including engraved allegorical title and the final blank [f. 76 mispaginated 72], numerous full page woodcut diagrams, initials and decorations in text. Fine eighteenth-century Italian marbled half calf and patterned boards. Provenance: engraved armorial ex libris of the Counts Riccati to the front paste down; the family had several distinguished mathematicians, including Jacopo Francesco Riccati (1676-1754) - known for the Raccati equation and for having collected rare books. Jacopo Riccati studied astronomy under Stefano degli Angeli, a former pupil of Bonaventura Cavalieri. A very fine, crisp, and clean copy

      [Bookseller: Sophia Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      Antikvariat    


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