Augsburg: David Frank, 1611.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Near Fine. Item #002859
4to (198 x 152 mm). , 28, 80,  pp., including errata and addendum leaf to fol. 27 at end, 2 tail pieces, and 42 woodcut diagrams in text. Signatures: )(4 a-c4 d2 A-K4 chi2. Text printed in Roman and italic type. pp. 15-27 with four letters of Galileo (13 Nov. 1610 - 26 March 1611) in Italian, with Latin translation. Bound in antique-style three-quarter calf, spine with gilt-lettered morocco label and gilt ruling. Internally crisp and clean without visible staining or spotting, the title-page slightly dust-soiled and with a small nearly invisible flaw at the top gutter. Provenance: J.R.K. (tiny stamp "ex Coll. J.R.K." to rear pastedown). An exceptional copy with wide margins preserving all oversized diagrams unshaved (most copies known have at least two illustrations shaved). Collated complete. ----
Caspar 40; Zinner 4320; Cinti 31; Duncan 6961; Honeyman 1788; D.S.B. VII, p.299; PMM 112 (note).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FOUNDATION WORK ON MODERN OPTICS. In this work Kepler explained the theory of refraction by lenses, enlarged his system of geometrical and instrumental optics, and expounded the principle of the inverting telescope.
"Kepler obtained a telescope in 1610, a gift from Ernest, Archbishop of Cologne, and in his Dioptrice (1611), Kepler discussed its theory. In this work he enlarged upon his ideas on refraction and wrote about the anatomy of the eye. He described, for the first time, the defect of spherical aberration and stated that it could be overcome by giving optical surfaces hyperboloidal forms ... He showed, also for the first time, that before an object can be seen distinctly, its image must be sharply formed on the retina" (King, The History of the Telescope, pp. 44-45).
"The immediate impact of Kepler's optical work was not great; but ultimately it changed the course of optics, especially after his Dioptrice (1611), which applied these principles to the telescope. 'Optical tubes' had been discussed in Giambattista della Porta's Magia naturalis (1589); but Kepler confessed that 'I disparaged them most vigorously, and no wonder, for he obviously mixes up the incredible with the probable.' Thus Kepler, who himself used spectacles, discussed lenses only in passing in his Astronomiae pars optica. Nevertheless, he had set forth the essential background by which the formation of images with lenses could be explained, and so he was able to complete his Dioptrice within six months after he had received Galileo's Sidereus nuncius (1610). With great thoroughness Kepler described the optics of lenses, including a new kind of astronomical telescope with two convex lenses. The preface declares, 'I offer you, friendly reader, a mathematical book, that is, a book that is not so easy to understand,' but his severely mathematical approach only serves to place the Dioptrice all the more firmly in the mainstream of seventeenth-century science." (D.S.B.)
In the long preface, Kepler comments on Galileo's recent discoveries made with the telescope and their importance in supporting the theories of Copernicus. The work also reprints a series of related letters from Galileo to Kepler, from 13 November 1610 to 26 March 1611.
The Dioptrice is Kepler's only work on optics. "In optics he gave a correct theory of vision, found that the velocity of light is infinite, came very near the correct Jaw of refraction, and described various forms of the newly invented telescope"- PMM 112 (note).
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