Brahe's description of the supernova of 1572
Astronomiae instauratae progymnasmata, quorum haec prima pars de restitutione motuum solis & lunae, stellarumque inerrantium tractat, et praeterea de admiranda noua stella anno 1572 exorta luculenter agit. Excudi primum coepta Uraniburgi Daniae, ast Pragae Bohemiae absoluta. Edited by Johann Kepler.
Frankfurt am Main: Gottfried Tampach, 1610.
2nd Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003670
4to (231 x 171 mm). , 112, 01-20, 022-028 , 112 (i.e. 113)-822,  pp. Title-page printed in red and black, numerous woodcut text illustrations and diagrams, woodcut initials and tailpieces, general index at end. Signatures: )(4 (:)4 B-O4 P-Q8 R10 S-Z4 AA-II4 KK-LL8 MM-ZZ4 AAA-ZZZ4 AAAA-ZZZZ4 Aaaaa-Mmmmm4. Leaves P1r-Q6r numbered 01-028 (partly corrected by hand), Q6v unnumbered, Q7r misnumbered 112, pp. 497-98 skipped in pagination. Contemporary richly blind-stamped pigskin over beveled wooden boards, spine with four raised bands and paper label lettered in ink, two brass catches preserved, red-dyed edges, original endpapers (foot of spine restored, upper spine with a few wormholes, occasional minor staining and discoloration of leather). Text somewhat browned throughout as usual (few pages stronger), some scattered spotting, lower corner of first four leaves with small worm tracks not affecting any text, ink smudges to fore-ege extending into blank margin of a few pages, last line of p. 619 weakly printed, some text corrections in contemporary hand. Provenance: title-page with partly erased old ownership entry (Lambi?), further inscribed on head "Bibliotheca Matematica" and dated 1675 and inbetween title "Collegij Societatis Jesu Graecij" (Jusuit convent Graz). Further illegible inscription on front pastedown and ink annotations on rear pastedown. Very good copy in a lovely and sturdy strictly contemporary binding. ----
RARE FIRST EDITION, title-issue, of Tycho Brahe's extremely influential last work, which was published posthumously and finished by Kepler, who wrote the final parts. Brahe's Astronomiae instauratae progmnasmata was produced in 1602 by the author's own press at Uraniborg. It contains important investigations on the new star of 1572 which Brahe had discovered in Cassiopeia. This discovery led to far-reaching consequences in the history of astronomy and this work became the foundation on which Kepler, and later Newton, built their astronomical systems" (Sparrow p. 12).
"Brahe's extremely influential Progymnasmata describes in great detail his observations on the supernova (the 'new star') in Cassiopeia of 1572-74 and his revisions of the theories of solar and lunar movement as well as his seminal catalogue of the positions of 777 fixed stars, which would eventually lead to Kepler's Tabulae Rudolphinae. After Brahe had left Hven for Wandsbeck (today a district of the city of Hamburg), where he published his seminal Astronomiae Instauratae Mechanica, he ventured on for Prague, where he had been summoned by Emperor Rudolf II. But on his way to Prague, he discovered that plague had broken out there, and decided to stay in Wittenberg for a while. He arrived here late 1598. By then he had already been working on his last great work, the Progymnasmata, and had printed parts of it while still on Hven. He hoped to have the book finished before arriving in Prague, so that he could present it to the emperor. He thus decided to print the parts of the work that were not yet finished here, in Wittenberg. Having gone through the nuisance of not being able to find appropriate paper matching that from Hven, he finally received a shipment of his own paper, sent from Wandsbeck, and resumed printing of the parts on the moon. However, in January, he had observed a moon eclipse and had noticed some deviations from his calculations. Thus, he paused the printing in order to investigate the calculations before they were printed. Shortly after Easter, Brahe left Wittenberg, and the printing was abandoned. As soon as he had reached the castle near Prague that the emperor had left him at his disposal, he continued the process of finally finishing and publishing the almost finished parts of the work. By then, he still needed the new title-page he had decided upon, the Conclusio, and the part about the moon in the first chapter. The printers in Prague were not skilled enough to print the tables and the astronomical figures in the text, and he had been waiting for his own printing press to arrive from Magdeburg. He thought about having the final parts printed in Görlitz, but it came to nothing. Time passed, and the part about the moon was only finished in 1600, when Longomantanus arrived in Prague. By then, Brahe's printing press had also arrived, and the final parts of the book could finally be printed in the correct manner" (Lauritz Nielsen, Tycho Brahes Bogtrykkeri, 1946, pp. 62-65; transl. from the Danish by H. Lynge).
References: Dreyer, Brahe, p.368-69; Sparrow, Milestones of Science, 29; BL STC German B1971; VD17 14:074208U; Houzeau-Lancaster 2700; DSB II, p.412.
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