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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

cosmology & astronomy

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Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655)
Institutio astronomica.
Secunda editio priori correctior.
Londini : Typis Jacobi Flesher. Prostant apud Gulielmum Morden, Cantabrigiensem, 1653.

Image from Gassendi's Institutio astronomica

This short introductory work of astronomy by the French natural philosopher Pierre Gassendi presents the cosmological theory of Tycho Brahé. This theory was a major competitor to the Copernican theory in the first half of the seventeenth century. It was a kind of compromise between the Ptolemaic and Copernican views. Gassendi is not normally remembered for his interest in astronomy, but his observation of the transit of Mercury was a significant contribution. In ecstatic terms he expressed to Wilhelm Schickard "I have found him, I have seen him where no one has ever seen him before!" The diagram is from Gassendi's own account of the observation in his Mercurius in sole visus et Venus invisa (1632).

Another image from Gassendi's Institutio astronomica
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