17 June 2008
BODE, Johann Elert (1747-1826). Vorstellung der Gestirne auf vier und dreyssig Kupfertafeln Zweyte sehr verbesserte und vermehrte Ausgabe -- Représentation des Astres Seconde édition, soigneusement revue et corrigée. Berlin and Stralsund: G. Hayn for Gottlieb August Lange, 1805.
4o (231 x 163 mm). Text manual with parallel text in German and French including title-page. Atlas with engraved double page title by D. Berger dated 1805, and 34 double page engraved maps. Contemporary blue half-calf over marbled boards, spine gilt (spine slightly rubbed and faded); modern red half calf clam shell box. Provenance: Ex-German library copy with small cancellation stamp on the French title-page.
Second edition (first published in 1782, see lot 37) of Bode's important sky atlas containing more than 5,000 stars. Bode, son of a commercial accounting teacher "had a great love for practical calculations In 1786 Bode was appointed royal astronomer, director of the astronomical observatory, and member of the Berlin Academy. He was active in these positions for nearly forty years, until his retirement in 1825. In spite of the renovations which he arranged, the observatory could not compete with those of Paris and London Bode's literary activity more than made up for the observatory's deficiencies. Besides his tables, his two sky atlases were for a long time indispensable tools for astronomers; the Vorstellung der Gestirne, which, according to the example set by John Flamsteed's atlas, contained more than 5,000 stars. Bode was almost the only writer to support the then not widely known ideas of Kant, Lambert and Herschel on the infinity of space, the infinite number of inhabited worlds, and the continuous birth and passing away of stars according to natural laws. Bode gave the name Uranus to Herschel's newly discovered planet" (DSB). Brunet I:1024.
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