Danzig: A. Hünefeld for the author, 1647.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #002191
Folio (346 x 215 mm). , , 563  pp., including title (printed in red and black), additional engraved title-page with historiated border incorporating figures of Alhazen and Galileo, 108 (of 111) engraved illustrations on 88 (of 91) plates (3 full-sheet; one with volvelle in facsimile and red silk string-pointer; 20 printed recto and verso for total of 40 engravings), 27 engraved illustrations and diagrams in text, one five-line historiated woodcut initial, numerous ornamental wood-cut two-line initials and head- and tailpieces. Lacking the half title, the author's portrait, plate N (to p.180), plate Q (to p.226) and plate RRR (to p.547, which is not included in the list of plates and which was added to later issues). Also lacking is the volvelle to plate 21 (to p. 364). All missing plates and the volvelle are replaced in good facsimile. Neatly restored contemporary vellum, ruled in blind and with large central arabesques on both boards, spine with faint hand-lettering. Endpapers renewed, engraved title reinforced at guard, occasionally a little soiled, paper carefully cleaned (leaves still crisp). Additionally bound in are two letters in facsimile not belonging to the work, by Hevelius to Petrus Gassendus and Ismael Bullialdus (1652) and to Laurentius Eichstadius (1650). ----
Ashworth, The face of the moon, Linda Hall 5; DSB VI, 360. Zinner, Instrumente, 381. Volkoff, Hevelius, 1-3. Libri rari 135. Roller-G. I, 538. Honeyman 1672: "The first complete lunar atlas." The Selenographia, printed in 1647, is perhaps Hevelius's most important work. "No finer book on the moon has ever been published. In scores of illustrations, drawn and engraved by the author himself, Hevelius tracked the moon through every phase of an entire lunar cycle, and then incorporated the information gained into three large moon maps. The best-known of these three introduced a complete lunar nomenclature--unsuccessfully, as it turned out (see item 7 for the successful nomenclature). But the two other maps, though less often reproduced, are much more splendid examples of lunar cartography. One shows the full moon as it actually appears through the telescope--that is, with no shadows. The other is uniformly (and artificially) shadowed to show the craters as they appear at mid-morning on the moon." (Ashworth).
Following the invention of the telescope earlier in the seventeenth century the moon, being the closest planet to earth and the one which could therefore be seen most clearly, had become a favourite object of study for many astronomers wishing to take full advantage of the potential for detailed observation offered by the new invention. In Selenographia Hevelius set about creating an authoritative atlas and study of the moon, derived from his own observations. The book contains 133 engraved plates, many of them depicting the moon and its phases. Hevelius assigns names to the geographical features observable on the moon's surface (seas, mountains, etc.) frequently borrowing the nomenclature of terrestrial geography; thus, there is an island of Sicily (complete with a Mount Etna) and an island of Corsica, both in the Mediterranean Sea. A few of these names - the Alps, the Apennines and the Caucasus - are still used today in lunar topography, but on the whole Hevelius's nomenclature was supplanted later in the seventeenth century by that of Giovanni Battista Riccioli. Hevelius engraved all the plates himself, with great skill. The level of detail attained testifies both to the power of his telescopes and to his accuracy as an observer. Hevelius was renowned for his sharp eyesight; he could see stars of the seventh magnitude with his naked eye. Selenographia contains a number of depictions of the instruments constructed by Hevelius, of considerable interest to anyone studying the development of the telescope. - Visit our website to see more images!
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