The general history of astronomy. Volume 2: Planetary astronomy from the Renaissance to the rise of astrophysics. Part A: Tycho Brahe to Newton. (English) Zbl 0734.01001

Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press. ix, 288 p. £30.00/hbk; $ 54.50/hbk (1989).
The “General history of astronomy”, published under the auspices of the International astronomical union and the International union for the history and philosophy of science will cover the whole of the history of astronomy at a level suitable for a wide readership. This volume covers the period from Tycho de Brahe to Newton. Eleven authors wrote the thirteen sections which belong to four parts: 1) Tycho, Gilbert and Kepler, 2) The impact of the telescope, 3) Planetary, lunar and cometary theories between Kepler and Newton, 4) The Newtonian achievement in astronomy. The account is indeed presented as a highly readable narrative without scholarly apparatus which profits by 121 illustrations, figures or drawings. The authors have not attempted an encyclopaedic completeness of coverage but have provided an “intelligible account of the major endeavours through which astronomy has evolved” (p. VIII). As a consequence the reader will find useful and explanatory comments on Tycho and his contemporaries, on the magnetical philosophy, on Kepler, Galileo and his telescopic astronomy, on selenography, on the predictive astronomy in the century after Kepler, on the Cartesian vortex theory, and on Newton’s achievements in astronomy. Curtis Wilson being one of the two editors, added a highly welcome glossary consisting of 38 technical terms.


01A05 General histories, source books
01-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to history and biography
85-03 History of astronomy and astrophysics