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15 - 16 June 1998
HALLEY, Edmund (1656-1742). Tabulae astronomicae. Accedunt de usu tabularum praecepta. Edited by John Bevis. London: William Innys, 1749.
4o 281 x 222 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait, licence leaf, errata leaf at end. (Marginal soiling and spotting, a few leaves browned, quire O3 misbound.) Contemporary calf (rebacked).
Provenance: Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811), Astronomer-Royal from 1765 until his death (1751 inscription on front free endpaper, note on front pastedown, inserted manuscript tables); Anthony Mervin Storey, Maskelyne's son-in-law (inscription).
FIRST EDITION. "Halley's astronomical contributions were not confined to comets, and he made notable advances in the determination of the distance of the sun, in positional and navigational astronomy, and in general stellar astronomy" (DSB). These posthumously published astronomical tables include Halley's calculations relating to the so-called "long inequality" of Jupiter and Saturn, caused by the deacceleration of Saturn and the increasing acceleration of Jupiter. Halley correctly theorized that this phenomenon might be the result of a gravitational attraction between the two planets. The edition also contains the third Latin edition of the Synopsis astronomiae cometicae.
An interesting association copy, including a loosely inserted folded quarto sheet bearing three pages in Maskelyne's hand, the first two containing tables copied from the Memoires de l'Acadmie des Sciences, of "a series of oppositions of Saturn & the Sun," the last page containing Maskelyne's comments on some of Halley's calculations. Houzeau and Lancaster 12796; MacPike, p. 278; Norman 981.
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