Saturday, March 22, 2008

Astronomical Handbook of 1718

Astronomical observations


Figura Pleniluniorum Generalis


Figura Phasium et Lunationum


Atlas Portatilis Coelestis 1723


Eclipse tracking


Measuring eclipse


Astronomical measuring


Astronomy devices


Celestial elevation measuring


Declination measurement


Pendulum measuring


Astronomy measuring


Telescopic devices

Johann Leonhard Rost (1688-1727) published the first practical astronomy text in Germany in 1718. It might also be described as the first ever German book devoted to astronomy, as the (very few) earlier works were either translations or simply chapters in larger publications.

Rost obtained a clandestine income from writing romance novels under a pseudonym (Meletaon) and studied his beloved astronomy in Altdorf, Leipzig and Jena. He was to become an assistant at the observatory in his birth town of Nuremberg, initially under its founder, Georg Eimmart, and later under Johann von Wurzelbau; but Rost made significant astronomical observations of his own and many of his findings appeared in scientific publications.

'Astronomisches Handbuch' from 1718 is online at Wolfenbütteler Digitale Bibliothek. The bulk of the illustrations appear above and they mostly pertain to the art of selenography (moon mapping) - I believe Rost's most significant observations related to solar and lunar appearances during eclipses and with the effects of the Northern Lights.

The coloured dual-image above comes from Rost's other main astronomical book, 'Atlas Portatilis Coelestis' (1723), available from the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology. The zodiac plates are based on the constellation arrangements of Johannes Hevelius (who was, incidentally, also the 'father' of moon mapping).

2 comments:

Raquel said...

Beautiful illustrations,Peacay, but I love the "clandestine income from writing romance novels"! Should be wrong, at those times, writing romances? or shameful? Who knows!

peacay said...

I probably should have qualified the 'romance' by saying *I think* they were romance novels. I left it spicy.

Post a Comment

Comments are all moderated so don't waste your time spamming: they will never show up.

If you include ANY links that aren't pertinent to the blog post or discussion they will be deleted and a rash will break out in your underwear.

Also: please play the ball and not the person.

 
Creative Commons License