24. Erasmus Reinhold, Prutenicæ tabulæ coelestium motuum (Tubingen, 1551)

Type: Book
Inv. No. n/a
Source: Royal Astronomical Society

De revolutionibus includes a notorious preface, added just before publication without authorisation from either Copernicus or Rheticus, to whom Copernicus had entrusted his manuscript and who was very annoyed at this development. Written by the Lutheran theologian Andreas Osiander, the preface proposed that the cosmology in the book was not to be taken as true of the physical world but provided a basis for convenient calculation. It was merely a mathematical hypothesis. A number of astronomers took this approach, including the author of these tables, Erasmus Reinhold, who had been appointed by Philipp Melanchthon to the astronomy chair in Wittenberg. Nonetheless his ‘Prutenic Tables’ represent one of the earliest applications of the Copernican theory and helped establish its credentials as serious mathematical astronomy.

On loan from the Royal Astronomical Society

Previous: Astrolabe by Regnerus Arsenius
Next: Horary quadrant and altitude sundial by Christian Heiden