The Naturalist Turn and Celestial Order

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:
The Naturalist Turn and Celestial Order

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The year 1604 was of great astrological import for the prognosticators. It was supposed to mark the return of Saturn and Jupiter in conjunction with the Fiery Trigon (at 8 degrees in the sign of Sagittarius) after eight centuries. It was also the year that Mars, the third superior planet, was expected to join the other two in Sagittarius on September 29. A rush of publications ensued, including Johannes Kepler's Report (Bericht). In 1602, the 1572 nova was effectively transformed into a new kind of event when Tycho Brahe's son-in-law, Franz Tengnagel, pushed through publication of the Progymnasmata. In Italy, the nova's appearance led quickly to an outbreak of local controversy, with universities at the center of contention. In early December 1604, Galileo's lectures at the university in Padua became the occasion for a series of exchanges. In March 1607, Baldassare Capra published a work in Latin with an uncanny resemblance to Galileo's that promised to show not only how to operate but also how to build the compass.

Keywords: Saturn; Jupiter; Mars; nova; conjunction; Johannes Kepler; Galileo; Franz Tengnagel; Progymnasmata; Baldassare Capra

Chapter.  14983 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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