By John M. Steele
The discovery of a steady acceleration within the moon’s suggest movement by means of Edmond Halley within the final decade of the 17th century resulted in a revival of curiosity in reviews of astronomical observations from antiquity. those observations supplied the single capability to review the moon’s ‘secular acceleration’, as this newly-discovered acceleration turned identified. This e-book includes the 1st precise examine of using historical and medieval astronomical observations on the way to examine the moon’s secular acceleration from its discovery via Halley to the institution of the value of the acceleration by means of Richard Dunthorne, Tobias Mayer and Jérôme Lalande within the 1740s and 1750s. Making wide use of formerly unstudied manuscripts, this paintings exhibits how assorted astronomers used an identical small physique of preserved historic observations in numerous methods of their paintings at the secular acceleration. moreover, this paintings seems to be on the wider context of the research of the moon’s secular acceleration, together with its use in debates of biblical chronology, even if the heavens have been made from æther, and using astronomy in picking out geographical longitude. It additionally discusses wider problems with the perceptions and data of historic and medieval astronomy within the early-modern interval. This ebook might be of curiosity to historians of astronomy, astronomers and historians of the traditional world.
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Extra resources for Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757)
33–36. 35 Ptolemy, Geography, 4,5,9 (Alexandria), 5,2,34 (Rhodes), 5,15,16 (Antioch), and 5,20,6 (Babylon); Stückelberger and Graßhoff (2006), pp. 423, 499, 567, and 593. 36 It should be remarked, however, that some other tables of cities are as bad as Streete’s. Vincent Wing, Streete’s biggest critic, gave a slightly better longitude for Alexandria (2h3¢ east of London) but a much worse longitude for Babylon (3h40¢ east of London) in his Astronomia Instaurata, p. 133 (Wing does not list Antioch, Aracta, or Rhodes in his table).
Hodgson, and by Dr. Halley, of a natural Eclipse, supposed by Kepler to be that meant by Phlegon: As well as it had before been made acquainted, though without my Consent or Privity, of an inaccurate Calculation, or rather Approximation of mine, by an Instrument called by me the Copernicus. This I reckon does rarely err much about an Hour in the Time of the middle of the general Eclipse, and but proportionably in other Circumstances: As indeed it did scarcely err more than an Hour and twenty Minutes from Dr.
Whiston, Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Samuel Clarke, p. 148. 14 Whiston computed the circumstances of the eclipses using his “Copernicus”, a mechanical instrument he had devised for calculating astronomical phenomena. The Copernicus instruments were made by John Senex and sold both by Senex and by Whiston himself at the price of six guineas. Whiston presented the instrument at a meeting of the Royal Society on 10 February 1715/6. According to Farrell (1981), p. 216 no examples of Whiston’s “Copernicus” have been identified.