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The General History of Astronomy

The General History of Astronomy

Volume 2. Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics


Part of General History of Astronomy

Eric J. Aiton, Seymour L. Chapin, Craig B. Waff, Curtis Wilson, Eric G. Forbes, Bruno Morando, Albert Van Helden, Michael Hoskin, Brian G. Marsden, Oscar Sheynin, F. Schmeidler, Yoshihide Kozai
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  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120098

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About the Authors
  • Part B of Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics is the sequel to Part A and continues the history of celestial mechanics and observational discovery through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Twelve different authors have contributed their expertise in some eighteen chapters, each of them intended to be accessible to the interested layman. An initial section deals with stages in the reception of Newton's inverse square law as exact. In the remainder of the book a large place is given to the development of the mathematical theory of celestial mechanics from Clairaut and Euler to LeVerrier, Newcomb, Hill and Poincaré – a topic rarely treated, at once synoptically and in some detail. Lists of further reading provide entrée to the literature of these several topics.

    • Offers a clear insight on a topic rarely treated at once synoptically and in detail
    • Contains eighteen chapters written by twelve well-known scientists covering various point of views
    • Extensive 'Further reading' list
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… this is a very comprehensive and high quality work on the history of astronomy … This series will be a very interesting collection for everybody, scientist, student and amateur, who is interested in the general history of astronomy.' Reviews of Astronomical Tools

    Review of the hardback: 'This book illustrates perfectly the skill of the modern astronomical historian. The list of editors and authors reads like a who's who in the subject and the 17 essays provide an excellent secondary source.' Carole Stott, New Scientist

    Review of the hardback: '… when read as an historical introduction to the study of the subject this book could provide the background necessary to fully understand advanced and modern celestial mechanics.' Irish Astronomical Journal

    Review of the hardback: '… all of the chapters are of a high scholarly standard and one feels that the authors have done their best to make their material accessible without too much recourse to mathematics, which is no mean achievement when writing a history of celestial mechanics.' Allan Chapman, Endeavour

    Review of the hardback: 'This is a scholarly and well-produced book.' Alan Chapman, Webb Society Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120098
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 16 x 189 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part V. Early Phases in the Reception of Newton's Theory:
    14. The vortex theory in competition with Newtonian celestial dynamics Eric J. Aiton
    15. The shape of the Earth Seymour L. Chapin
    16. Clairaut and the motion of the lunar apse: The inverse-square law undergoes a test Craig B. Waff
    17. The precession of the equinoxes from Newton to d'Alembert and Euler Curtis Wilson
    18. The solar tables of Lacaille and the lunar tables of Mayer Eric G. Forbes and Curtis Wilson
    19. Predicting the mid-eighteenth-century return of Halley's Comet Craig B. Waff
    Part VI. Celestial Mechanics During the Eighteenth Century:
    20. The problem of perturbation analytically treated: Euler, Clairaut, d'Alembert Curtis Wilson
    21. The work of Lagrange in celestial mechanics Curtis Wilson
    22. Laplace Bruno Morando
    Part VII. Observational Astronomy and the Application of Theory in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century:
    23. Measuring solar parallax: The Venus transits of 1761 and 1769 and their nineteenth–century sequels Albert Van Helden
    24. The discovery of Uranus, the Titius-Bode and the asteroids Michael Hoskin
    25. Eighteenth–and nineteenth century developments in the theory and practice of orbit determination Brian G. Marsden
    26. The introduction of statistical reasoning into astronomy: from Newton to Poincaré Oscar Sheynin
    27. Astronomy and the theory of errors: from the method of averages to the method of least squares F. Schmeidler
    Part VIII. The Development of Theory During the Nineteenth Century:
    28. The golden age of celestial mechanics Bruno Morando
    Part IX. The Application of Celestial Mechanics to the Solar System to the End of the Nineteenth Century:
    29. Three centuries of lunar and planetary ephemerides and tables Bruno Morando
    30. Satellite ephemerides to 1900 Yoshihide Kozai
    Combined index for Parts 2A and 2B.

  • Editors

    René Taton, Alexandre Koyre Research Centre, Paris

    Curtis Wilson, St John's College, Annapolis

    General Editor

    Michael Hoskin, University of Cambridge


    Eric J. Aiton, Seymour L. Chapin, Craig B. Waff, Curtis Wilson, Eric G. Forbes, Bruno Morando, Albert Van Helden, Michael Hoskin, Brian G. Marsden, Oscar Sheynin, F. Schmeidler, Yoshihide Kozai

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