KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630. Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus Astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae Restauratio continetur. Ulm: Jonas Sauer, 1627. WITH: Sportula. [Sagan: n.p., 1629.]

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Lot 48
KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630.
Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus Astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae Restauratio continetur. Ulm: Jonas Sauer, 1627. WITH: Sportula. [Sagan: n.p., 1629.]

Sold for US$ 52,500 inc. premium

History of Science

22 Oct 2014, 13:00 EDT

New York

KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630.
Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus Astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae Restauratio continetur. Ulm: Jonas Sauer, 1627. WITH: Sportula. [Sagan: n.p., 1629.]
Folio (342 x 228 mm). [xvi], 12, [3]; 115 [recte 119] pp. with engraved allegorical frontispiece designed by Kepler, depicting Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler gathered in the Temple of Urania, numerous woodcut diagrams in text. Original binding of half pigskin and rose blind-ruled paper-covered boards. Quarter morocco clamshell. Binding worn with some loss of the paper on both covers, pigskin very rubbed; margin of k3 folded in, with a contemporary marginal extension and parts of the first letters of the marginal notes supplied in contemporary manuscript, a little marginal worming to prelims, not affecting text, a single small wormhole in lower blank margin penetrating about a third of the way through, not touching text.
Provenance: RLA (bookplate); C.W. Turner (presentation bookplate to the University of Keele); Extensive annotations in a contemporary knowledgeable hand. Full details on annotations available upon request.

FIRST EDITION OF KEPLER'S LAST LIFETIME PUBLICATION AND HIS CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT, THE "FOUNDATION OF ALL PLANETARY CALCULATIONS FOR OVER A CENTURY" (Sparrow Milestones of science) third state. "The tables are extraordinarily important, for they document in a unique way Kepler's great contributions to astronomy" (Gingerich Johannes Kepler and the Rudolphine tables). "Besides the planetary, solar, and lunar tables and the associated tables of logarithms it includes Tycho Brahe's catalog of 1,000 fixed stars, a chronological synopsis, and a list of geographical positions ... Kepler was an astronomer's astronomer. It was the astronomers who recognized the immense superiority of the Tabulae Rudolphinae. For the professionals the improvement in planetary predictions was a forceful testimony to the efficacy of the Copernican system" (Sparrow). Based on Tycho Brahe's observations, the tables were then supplemented by Kepler's own observations. The calculations were a major mathematical achievement, as of course, Brahe's data applied erroneously to "perfect" circular orbits. Kepler had discovered the true elliptical shape of the planetary orbits, and thus, had to recalculate everything according to his new laws.
The printing history of the book is quite complex. There were 1000 copies printed in Ulm in 1927, with three known states, affecting the title and the first two gatherings. Some copies are known with a posthumously published world map, and some have a posthumous appendix - neither is present in this copy. Caspar 79; Houzeau and Lancaster 12754; Lalande p 190; Norman 1208; Sparrow 116.

Footnotes

  • A GREAT CLASSIC IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE—ONE OF THE ONLY KNOWN COPIES WITH CONTEMPORARY ANNOTATIONS
Contacts
KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630. Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus Astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae Restauratio continetur. Ulm: Jonas Sauer, 1627. WITH: Sportula. [Sagan: n.p., 1629.]
KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630. Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus Astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae Restauratio continetur. Ulm: Jonas Sauer, 1627. WITH: Sportula. [Sagan: n.p., 1629.]
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