Planetary Order, Astronomical Reform, and the Extraordinary Course of Nature

Robert S. Westman

in The Copernican Question

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520254817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948167 | DOI:
Planetary Order, Astronomical Reform, and the Extraordinary Course of Nature

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Attention to the science of astronomy, already so well sustained in the Wittenberg cultural sphere, received an unexpected boost with the dramatic and unheralded arrival of two apparitions in the skies of the 1570s. One was a brilliant entity—represented variously as a meteor, a comet, or a new star—that appeared in 1572 and remained until May 1574. The other—represented almost universally as a “bearded star” or comet—could be seen for just over two months between November 1577 and January 1578. This chapter explores planetary order, astronomical reform, and the extraordinary course of nature. It discusses astronomical reform and the interpretation of celestial signs, Thaddeus Hagecius's polemic on the new star, Tycho Brahe and his Copenhagen oration, Brahe's relationship with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Valentine Naibod's circumsolar ordering of Mercury and Venus, astrological and eschatological meanings of comets, and the language and syntax of cometary observation. Finally, the chapter considers the views of Maestlin, Brahe, Cornelius Gemma Frisius, and Helisaeus Roeslin regarding place and order, the comet, and the cosmos.

Keywords: Thaddeus Hagecius; Tycho Brahe; Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; Valentine Naibod; Mercury; Venus; comets; Helisaeus Roeslin; planetary order; astronomy

Chapter.  21234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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