HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,

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Lot 16
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687.
2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,

US$ 70,000 - 100,000
£ 54,000 - 76,000
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687.
2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston, 5 pp recto and verso, legal folio (conjoining leaves), Gdansk, April and December 29, 1685, moderate toning, creasing, wear at edges.
WITH: OLDENBURG, HENRY. 1619-1677.
2 Autograph Letters Signed ("H. Oldenburg"), in Latin, to Johannes Hevelius, regarding the transmittal of scholarly publications and other recent scientific news, 4 pp recto and verso, 8vo (conjoining leaves), London, August 29 and September 25, 1674, moderate toning and creasing.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE ASTRONOMER HEVELIUS AND THE ROYAL SOCIETY.
Johannes Hevelius published his Selenographia, an atlas of the moon, in 1647, establishing his reputation as one of the leading astronomers of the 17th century. From his own observatory, built on the roofs of his three connected houses, he discovered ten new constellations, seven of which are still used by astronomers, and four comets. Later in his career, he became embroiled in a feud with Robert Hooke over Hevelius' refusal to use a telescope in his calculations, though he was able to prove to English astronomer Halley that the work he did with a quadrant and alidade was nearly as accurate as the newer technique. In 1679, his observatory caught fire, destroying his instruments, library, and papers. He described the disaster in the book Annus climactericus published in 1685. Oldenburg was the founding secretary of the Royal Society, and best remembered today for having invented the peer review process for scientific publication.

This correspondence begins in 1674 with Oldenburg writing to Hevelius, asking where to send royalties from the sale of the Machina coestis. He mentions important recent publications sent on for review, including Robert Hooke's An Attempt to prove the Motion of the Earth from Observations (1674) and hints at an upcoming work by Hooke, which would be Animadversions on the first part of the Machina coestis of ... Hevelius (1674), which attacked Hevelius' naked eye measurements of stellar positions and advocated the use of telescopic sights on measuring instruments. This pamphlet provoked a feud between the two scientists that would last for many years. The September letter from Oldenburg sends Boyle's De hypothesis mechanicae excellentia.... (1674) and mentions other publications forthcoming. He responds to Hevelius' query regarding having English soldier's collect astronomical data for him near the south pole. In part, translated: "It will be most difficult to obtain for you the observations of stars situated near the South Pole. The English may organize voyages to South America or Africa, but it is hardly to be hoped that sailors will want to take pains in this so that we may obtain from them accurate observations such as are needed."

Hevelius' April 1685 letter is a reply to the new Secretary of the Royal Society Francis Aston's of more than a year earlier, in part (translated): "Given this convenient opportunity, and having published my little work of observations, namely Annus Climactericus, I did not want to neglect my duty any longer, but to offer it duly to you and the Royal Society ... Humbly asking that you will receive, in good spirit and in love of truth, these little pages ... written in defense of my observations, and that you, moreover, deem the author worthy of your protection against all envious persons and those wishing me ill. In the said little work you will not only see discussed that controversy between Hooke and me long ago conducted with mere words and [more recently] when Halley was here ... but you will also find many observations of planets as well as occultations and eclipses, made by me here ... after that abominable misfortune of mine," the observatory fire.

In his second letter, Hevelius accounts for the series of titles he has received, thanks Aston for the kind words on his recent book, and reports on his upcoming projects, Uranographia (1687) and Prodromus (1690), the later of which would be published posthumously by his wife, Catherina Elisabetha Koopman Hevelius, who is remembered as the first female astronomer of note in Europe.
Contacts
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,
HEVELIUS, JOHANNES. 1611-1687. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Jos. Hevelius" and "J. Hevelio"), in Latin, to Royal Society Secretary Francis Aston,
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