PHAENOMENA: Doppelmayr's Celestial Atlas

Book number: 94838 Product format: Hardback Author: GILES SPARROW & MARTIN REES

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Bibliophile price £32.50
Published price £50

With gold embossed linen cover and magnificent design and presentation as befitting a Thames & Hudson publication and with marbled endpapers, Martin Rees Astronomer Royal introduces us to the starry sky, the 'Vault of Heaven' which has been viewed with awe throughout human history. Over the centuries geocentric cosmology was 'improved' to take account of successively more accurate data as proposed by the great Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus with his heliocentric system which eventually triumphed, losing some of its complicity after Kepler (1571-1630) discovered planetary orbits to be ellipses rather than circles. In Atlas Coelestis, Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr (1677-1750) masterfully presents a panorama of what was believed about the cosmos in the early 18th century. The splendid ornamentation of his illustrations reflect the cultural breadth and intelligence of his intended readers. His sky maps portray the most prominent stars, the tracks of comets, and the orbits of Saturn's and Jupiter's moons, themselves 'cosmic clocks', observable in principle by navigators. Some of Doppelmayr's most remarkable illustrations depict how the solar system would appear if viewed not from Earth but from another planet. Today we are sending probes to these other worlds. Across 30 remarkable colour plates published by a great cartographic house in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1742, this spectacular outsized guide showcases the 1742 Map of the Cosmos and is a superb introduction to the fundamentals and history of astronomy. Charting constellations, planets, comets and moons, the Atlas presents the ideas of all the famous influential astronomers including Copernicus, Riccioli, Kepler, Newton and Halley. The intricate colour plates interweave annotated diagrams and tables with figurative drawings and ornamental features. At this size we can appreciate the beauty of these exquisite plates which are also presented in a step-by-step deconstructed form by astronomer Giles Sparrow who elucidates the scientific ideas inherent in each plate. He expertly decodes and analyses the complex information in them in this spectacular, revelatory celestial compendium of the cosmos. All in colour, 256 massive pages, 37.5 x 27cm.
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ISBN 9780500024294

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