Untersuchungen über die scheinbare und wahre Bahn des im Jahre 1807 erschienenen grossen Kometen.
Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1810.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003458
4to (225 x 180 mm). vi, 72 (i.e. 82),  pp., including errata leaf at end. Bound in 19th century marbled paper card, gilt-lettered paper spine label (paper chipped ant spine ends, extremities rubbed, corners scuffed). Printed on blue paper. Little age-toning, minor scattered foxing. Provenance: Georg Rümker; Hamburger Sternwarte (bookplate to front pastedown marked duplicate). ----
Poggendorff I, 176; DSB II, 97ff. - RARE FIRST EDITION of Bessel's investigation of the orbit of the comet of 1807 and his first individual publication shorty after he became professor in Königsberg and director of the observatory there. Bessel followed the comet's orbit until the perturbations of the known planets had ceased to be sensible. "According to Piazzi [the comet] was first noticed by an Augustine monk at Castro Giovanni in Sicily on September 9, but the first regular observation was made on 22nd of the same month by Thulis at Marseilles. From this time the comet's positions were determined at every opportunity by Bessel, Olbers, Oriani, and others until the end of February, 1808, and on the 18th of the following month Wisniewsky, favoured by a very acute vision and the clear skies of St. Petersburg, observed the comet again, and succeeded in fixing its position until the 27th. In consequence of a notification from Olbers, that with powerful telescopes there might be a possibility of observing the comet again as the earth overtook it to some extent in October and November of the same year, Bessel, then working with Schroeter at Lilienthal, closely examined its track with reflectors of 15 and 20 feet focal length, and on November 9 did succeed in finding an extremely faint nebulosity near the computed place of the comet, which he could not find subsequently, but as the position differed 12' from that assigned by an orbit which he considered very exact, he came to the conclusion that the object he observed was not the comet of 1807, but another one which happened to be in the vicinity, and which was not seen elsewhere. The discussion of the six months' observations of the comet appears in the masterly treatise to which we have referred, viz., 'Untersuchungen über die scheinbare und wahre Bahn des im Jahre 1807 erschienen grossen Kometen,' published at Königsberg in 1810. The method of determining the perturbations of a comet due to planetary attraction, which is detailed in this memoir, was long practised by the German astronomers in similar cases." (R. S. Newall et al., The Comet. In: Nature 24, 1881, p.197-201). - Visit our website to see more images!
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