Friday, March 30, 2007

The Comet Book

"Necessarium est autem veteres ortus cometarum habere collectos. Deprehendi enim propter raritatem eorum cursus adhuc non potest, nec explorari an vices servent et illos ad suum diem certus ordo producat"

[It is essential that we have a record of all the appearances of comets in former times. For, on account of their infrequency, their orbit cannot yet be discovered or examined in detail, to see they observe a periodical interval and whether their reappearance on a fixed day could be the result of certain cause] {Seneca, 60AD}

comet engravings from the Theater of Comets

1664 comet path illustrations - Lubieniecki

Systema astronomicum cometae - Salsburg

1664 comet paths on star map

Uranoscopica Henricus 1665

Comet view from Holland on celestial map 1665

Comet trajectory on focal star sign map

Caspar Schott comet path on star map

historic comet trajectories on engraved star map

Ingolstadt 1664 - comet path in illustrated star field

Star map with comet paths seen from Vienna 1660s

Hamburg city sky - comet path 1665

1664 comet path on astrology star map

comet on star map

Cetus astronomical focus with comet

astronomical system with comet

fish mouth star field close-up

comparison of star field engraving styles with comets

Comet views on celestial map

Autorum Scriptis - large field astrological star map

comet seen from Britain on star map

hydra star system with comet paths seen by Caspar Schott

comet path overlaid on star map

Stanislaus Lubienietzki (1623-1675) was a Polish historian and astronomer. [variations on his name include Lubieniecki and Lubienietski] Apart from the present work, he is remembered for the posthumous publication of The History of the Polish Reformation ('Historia Reformationis Polonicae'). He is said to have been persecuted by Lutheran ministers who ultimately murdered him and his 2 daughters with poison {source}.

The vast 'Theatrum Cometicum' (The Theatre of Comets) was published in Amsterdam in 1668 and includes about 80 lavish engravings (a great many of them are double-page fold out illustrations). It provides accounts of over 400 comet sightings throughout history and in discussing their meaning, Lubienietzki essentially helps usher in a more astronomical rather than astrological approach to the study of comets.

Much of the book is devoted to recording the observations across Europe of comets that occurred in 1664/1665 by eminent scholars such as Athanasius Kircher, Caspar Schott, Otto von Guericke, Christian Huygens and Johannes Hevelius, among others. They each supplied constellation charts with their accounts so the engraved plates made for this book reflect the variety of cartographic traditions popular during the 17th century (the styles of Willem Janszoon Blaeu and Jodocus Hondius dominate). The contribution by Hevelius (also from Poland) is interesting because his own treatise, 'Cometographia', was also published in 1668.


Dave Lovely said...

PK, I added a star in Google Reader to this post (heh).

Particularly like the 17th image, of Cetus (is it?) beset with stellar barnacles...

(I'm aka ramage, btw)

woolgathersome said...

Wonderful!! Thank you...

Unknown said...

Wow excellent find! I'm interested in the appearance of comets around the 1600's and their significance to mankind.

There were so many comets around that time, that also tie in with the coronation of Charles II.

Now of course the number of comets seen TODAY is unprecedented, and people are wondering if there is connection between now and the 1600's, when the comet book was written.

I read an article recently that does connect the two:

The convincing premise is that the sun has a twin that made an appearance in the 1600's and it shot a load of comets in all directions, some made it towards the sun (and earth) obviously.

BUT, the main barrage it would appear are on their way. An excellent article, thought provoking to the max. Hope you enjoy it.

peacay said...

Well Arthur I fell quickly to sleep reading that incredibly excessive post. I believe the technical term for the place you took me to is 'crackpot central'.

I tossed a coin to decide whether or not to delete your comment (after all, you choose to not make your profile public and there are some 'radar pings' about possible traffic driving) but on this occasion you won. Let the masses be edumacated. And all true believers will of course pick up a copy of the 9-11 expose on their way out.

Villu Orav said...

If you could edit this blog entry you could add the fact that you can freely download this from google books (100MB)

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