By John M. Steele
The discovery of a gentle acceleration within the moon’s suggest movement via Edmond Halley within the final decade of the 17th century ended in a revival of curiosity in studies of astronomical observations from antiquity. those observations supplied the single skill to check the moon’s ‘secular acceleration’, as this newly-discovered acceleration turned recognized. This e-book comprises the 1st certain research of using historical and medieval astronomical observations in an effort to examine the moon’s secular acceleration from its discovery by means of Halley to the institution of the importance of the acceleration via Richard Dunthorne, Tobias Mayer and Jérôme Lalande within the 1740s and 1750s. Making broad use of formerly unstudied manuscripts, this paintings indicates how diverse astronomers used an analogous small physique of preserved historic observations in several methods of their paintings at the secular acceleration. furthermore, this paintings seems on the wider context of the learn of the moon’s secular acceleration, together with its use in debates of biblical chronology, even if the heavens have been made from æther, and using astronomy in selecting geographical longitude. It additionally discusses wider problems with the perceptions and data of historic and medieval astronomy within the early-modern interval. This publication can be of curiosity to historians of astronomy, astronomers and historians of the traditional world.
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Additional resources for Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757)
35 MS RGO 2/16 unnumbered folio. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. C. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. D. date Despite Whiston’s uncompromising directness in his criticism of Halley for not applying a correction to make allowance for the acceleration of the moon when calculating ancient eclipses, he is unlikely to have attempted to misrepresent the much more powerful Halley. Indeed, Halley owned a copy of Whiston’s Six Dissertations,36 and we can imagine that he would certainly have objected if he felt that Whiston was falsely attributing to Halley views that he did not hold.
Similarly Kepler, in the Rudolphine Tables,34 put Alexandria 12¢, Antioch 37¢, Aracta 51¢, and Babylon 1h15¢ east of Rhodes, quite good values, but also overestimated by about 30¢ the difference in longitude between Rhodes and Uraniborg (he gave a fairly good figure for the longitude difference between Uraniborg and London). Ptolemy in his Geography,35 had put Alexandria 7¢20″, Antioch 45¢20″, and Babylon 1h21¢20″ east of Rhodes (Aracta is not included by Ptolemy)—closer still to the modern longitude differences and all in the correct order.
As from Dr. Halley: And shall make it in other old Eclipses, till I am satisfied that it is a Mistake. Which if it be, it behoves Dr. Halley to clear this Matter to the publick. 32 Whiston continued by claiming that this correction is confirmed by Thucydides’s account of a solar eclipse at Athens that took place during the first year of the Peloponnesian War, which without the correction for the Moon’s acceleration would take place during the hours of night. C. , Halley’s) own Determination”, and secondly that these allowances depend upon Halley’s “Observations and Assertions, and on them alone”.
Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757) by John M. Steele