7 June 2006
HEVELIUS, Joannes (1611-1687). Prodromus Cometicus, quo Historia Cometae anno 1664. Gdansk: Simon Reiniger for the author, 1665.
4° (357 x 230mm). Engraved title vignette, 3 full-page engravings, one of these folding. (Without first and last blanks, title remargined with small loss, repaired marginal tear in one leaf and in folding plate, occasional soiling and spotting.) 18th-century half-calf, spine gilt in compartments, contrasting lettering piece (extremities rubbed, lower side with small area of surface loss). Provenance: Joannes Hevelius (title inscription 'dono mittit auctor' to:) -- Bibliotheca Patria, ?Cracow (shelf-label on spine-foot, manuscript press mark on front endpaper).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Hevelius took on the roles of observer, engraver, and publisher to ensure consistency between observation and publication. His fine engravings record the appearance and course of comets through the heavens in 1664-65. Hevelius' observatory was considered the best in Europe (Dibner), and his naked-eye observations were then famed for their accuracy. After Halley visited him in 1679 he could confirm to the Royal Society that Hevelius' position determinations were as accurate as those taken with the micrometric telescope Halley had brought with him. RARE. Not in Norman; cf. Dibner 10.
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