Bracciano: apud Andream Phaeum, 1626.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #003625
1626-1630. Folio (380 x 265 mm). , 124 pp; 125-149 [i.e. 160] leaves; , 149-784,  pp. Signatures: π4 a-b6 c4 A-E6 F4 G-R6 2a-2s6 2t4 2u-2x6 2y4 3A-4M6 (F4, R6, 4I6 blank). Main text in double columns. Imprimatur dated 1630. Additional engraved title, letterpress title with printer's device by M. Greuter, half-title with dedication and engraved portrait of Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano on verso; numerous engraved text illustrations and diagrams, several full-page, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, errata leaf at end. Errors in pagination and foliation. 12 leaves following f.148 are all foliated 149. Contemporary full calf over thick boards, spine with ink lettered paper label, boards ruled in blind, red-dyed edges (binding restored). Very little browning, occasional minor pale dampstaining at outer blank margins, letterpress title soiled, full-page engraving on p.63 closely trimmed at head touching frame, occasional finger soiling, a few marginal paper repairs, p.555 with some ink retracing of flawed letterpress, blank fore-margin of leaf 4M3 trimmed by about 25 mm (far away from text block). Provenance: illegible, partly erased, old ownership inscription on title. A very good, tall, crisp, clean and unpressed copy printed on very strong paper. ----
FIRST EDITION of this magnificient astronomical and optical work by Scheiner and the most sumptuously illustrated astronomical book of the first half of the 17th century, forming a summation of Scheiner's investigations of the sun. It was printed at the private press established by Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, and a patron of astronomy, at his castle. The fine copper engravings include images of sunspots, the first equatorially mounted telescope called a helioscope, and other optical instruments. The title, Rosa Ursina, honours Orsini's name, and bears are frequently incorporated into the book's decorative motifs.
In the Rosa Ursina Scheiner is expanding upon his researches into sunspots. In it he confirms his method and criticises Galileo for incorrectly calculating the inclination of the axis of rotation of the sunspots to the plane of the ecliptic. Scheiner first observed sunspots in March 1611 and had his discovery published pseudonymously the following year. This sparked a conflict with Galileo, who claimed priority of discovery when, in fact, their observations were made independently.
Rosa Ursina is devided into four books. The first discusses the priority question of the discovery of sunspots. Book two presents telescope designs, optical projection methods and the helioscope invented by Scheiner and compares the optics of the telescope with that of the human eye. In the third book, Scheiner's sunspot observations are tabulated, enriched with 70 engraved illustrations by David Widemann. Book four is devided into two parts, the first deals with solar phenomena such as sunspots and protuberances, the tilt of the sun's axis and its period of revolution of 27 days. The second part is a collection of quotations and passages from the Scriptures, Church Fathers and philosophers, all in support of Scheiner's firm geocentric worldview conforming with the Catholic doctrine at that time. (see Daxecker).
"We have already seen Galileo used a telescope as a compound lens for the projection of the sun within a darkened chamber when he was recording the motions of the sunspots. His great rival Christopher Scheiner devised a machina helioscopia according to the same principles for his own minutely detailed observations of sunspots. Scheiner's concern to understand the implications of such devises led him to make a telling series of comparison between the human eye (natura) and the camera obscura (arte) when coupled with various combinations of lenses (natura cum arte) to produce upright and inverted images" (Kemp).
Literature and reference: DeBacker-Sommervogel VII, 738.8; Daumas, pp. 726-728; Cinti 79; DSB XII, pp. 151-152; King, The History of the Telescope, pp. 40-45; Honeyman 2781; Roller-Goodman II, 404; F. Daxecker, The Main Work of Astronomer Christoph Scheiner SJ "Rosa Ursina sive Sol" - A summary. In: Ber. nat.-med. Verein Innsbruck, Suppl. 13, p. 1, 1996; M. Kemp, The Science of Art - Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi To Seurat, Yale Univ. Press, 1992, p. 192-93. - Visit our website to see more images!
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