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    Sale 2013

    Important Scientific Books: The Richard Green Library

    17 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 173

    HERSCHEL, John Frederick William. Results of Astronomical Observations Made During the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, At the Cape of Good Hope; Being a Completion of a Telescopic Survey of the Whole Surface of the Visible Heavens, Commenced in 1825. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1847.

    Price Realised  

    HERSCHEL, John Frederick William. Results of Astronomical Observations Made During the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, At the Cape of Good Hope; Being a Completion of a Telescopic Survey of the Whole Surface of the Visible Heavens, Commenced in 1825. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1847.

    4o (312 x 250 mm). Half-title, 2-page publisher's advertisements bound at end. Lithographed frontispiece, 17 numbered plates of stars and nebulae after Herschel (4 folding) (occasional spotting). Original blind-stamped purple cloth, spine gilt, top edge gilt (some rubbing and light wear, corners and edges bumped). Provenance: Henry Drummond (armorial bookplate).

    FIRST EDITION of Herschel's monumental survey of the stars of the southern hemisphere, a complement to his father's survey of the northern celestial hemisphere. Herschel devoted 5 years to the project, which he chose to carry out at the Cape of Good Hope. In a suburb south of Cape Town he constructed a 20-foot reflecting telescope, with which he methodically explored the night skies. "By 1838 he had swept the whole of the southern sky, cataloged 1,707 nebulae and clusters, and listed 2,102 pairs of binary stars. He carried out star counts, on William Herschel's plan, of 68,948 stars in 3,000 sky areas... He produced detailed sketches and maps of several objects, including the Orion region, the Eta Carinae nebula, and the Magellanic Clouds, and extremely accurate drawings of many extragalactic and planetary nebulae... Herschel invented a device called an astrometer, which enabled him to compare the brightness of stars with an image of the full moon of which he could control the apparent brightness, and thus introduced numerical measurements into stellar photometry" (DSB). Norman 1056.


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