Dark Energy in the 17th Century

I was shown this today, and it totally rocks.

ADS archives have gone back, just a wee bit...

The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, ADS, is one of the most amazingly useful and comprehensive scientific data bases on the planet.

It covers all the major astronomical journals, including electronic or scanned images of essentially all the articles, as well as links to all the major online astronomical databases - including searchable and browsable images and links to published data by object.

Now, if you go to ADS and enter just a data in the "Publication Date between" field - in the latter field, ie the "publications before" blank, and put an interesting date, like 1600 or 1700, like


you will get some interesting returns.

The above link is for pre-1700 publications and returns 333 entries.

Starting with Geminiano Rondelli's classic 1700 monograph and ending with Lucio Bellanti's obscure 1502 treatise (do I read that correctly - he feuded with "Little John" about astrology?!)

I'm not sure about Abu Al-Fazal Musaffa's 1357 treaty - it links to the Library of Congress Persian Astronomy Dictionary collection it might be misclassified by A.H. year rather than A.D. and the 1057 entry is blank...

Now, scroll up a bit - there in 1543 is N. Copernicus "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium", a classic, and next to it are some pale blue letters

the "C" is the citation count - only 2, for his magnum opus - dood would never get tenure nowadays!
And "F" - for PDF!? As well as G for scanned image - that is right, the ADS has the full 404 page classic free online! PDF or scanned GIF images.

That is so cool.

Now, a lot of the 16th C stuff only provides library link - you can find out which collection hold the text - but something tells me there will be more G/F links in there.

Go into the 17th century - and Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler show up - scanned!
The young Galileo Galilei!

Then in 1665 - the first volume of the Proceedings of the Royal Society - yes, the legendary archives were scanned in and made available - but ADS has indexed and cross-referenced the astronomy articles! All of them.
Starting with Monsieur Auzout v 1 p 55 (link through JSTOR by license)

Then the observations of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter! Cassini and Hooke and Mercator and in 1672 one I. Newton.
Flamsteed, Halley, Huygens.

On-line electronic copies readily available.

I love those intertube thingies, may they never be clogged.

'course from 1700-1750 there were about as many articles as from 1500-1700 and after that no one could keep up with the literature. Almost doubles again from 1750-1800... but the real crisis hits post 1800 - factor of more than 10 to 1850!

I think I've spotted the first "dark energy" paper though - 1676, Phil Trans Roy Soc v11, 788
Not in so many words, "energy" does not make an appearance until 1899!


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Very cool.

At DDA last week, they had a tour of the university library's rare book holdings in astronomy. It included first edition prints of Kepler, Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe. Most impressively, they had a handwritten note by Galileo that is thought to be his notes where he synthesized his observations that those funny stars near Jupiter were orbiting around it. I imagine that what I felt seeing these books was similar to how some people feel when seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls in person.

Really cool! Even if they still miss some huge classics, such as Newton's Principia and Galileo's Dialogo sopra i massimi sistemi (actually, they have a reference to a latin translation).

As to Bellanti, he was feuding with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, an italian renaissance philosopher, who had written a treaty against astrology.

By Emanuele Ripamonti (not verified) on 17 May 2007 #permalink

That was *very* interesting. In a quick look down the list, I liked the 1677 one about the communication from Borelli about the price of his telescopes! Now, if *purchase orders* could only be counted as publications in todays Journals...

By Pat Durrell (not verified) on 17 May 2007 #permalink

Yeah, I suspect they will be scanning more in and linking as they get permission.
Principia might even be in copyright with CUP

I was transliterating "Giovanni Pico" as "Little John" - although "Tiny John" might be more appropriate - but I have no idea is "pico" in this context has that meaning.

What would be really nice scans of pre-Gutenberg manuscripts with astronomical information.
eg any middle age or dark age manuscript mentioning transient sky phenomena or new stars or comets, or indeed records of lunar phases or planet position observations.
With provenance of course.
Having all that info centralised and online would be amazing.
Not many bits of information, but hard to collate.

Yeah, it would be nice to get some of the Chinese and Korean supernova records scanned in....they would be appropriate for the earliest ADS articles.

By Craig Heinke (not verified) on 17 May 2007 #permalink

Wow, thanks! I've used ADS quite extensively; it really is an amazing tool. But I never imagined you could get say, Kepler's or Tychos' papers!

Principia might even be in copyright with CUP

Um, no. 20th Century translations from the original Latin could still be copyrighted, but not something that's over 300 years old! (In fact, I don't think copyright existed as a legal concept until the early 18th Century.)

I remember when ADS added stuff going back to the early 1800s -- so you could read about British naval expeditions to South America for astronomical observations, but this new stuff is prettty damn cool.

21 entries for Ptolemy!

(And, apropos of nothing except the general coolness of ADS: it's a much better search interface to astro-ph than astro-ph itself provides.)

"... Bellanti, he was feuding with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola..."

This week I read the fascinating scholarly book "Cardano's Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer", by Anthony Grafton (Dodge Professor of History at Princeton), Harvard University Press, 1999.

I need not tell you that Girolamo Cardano was an Italian doctor, mathematician, philosopher, and best-selling author. As an astrologer, his predictions won him access to some of the most powerful people in 16th century Europe.

He cited Copernicus, and was cited by Kepler.

"He wrote in "Astronomical Aphorisms" [1564]: "Copernicus seems not to have been altogether wrong when he thought that only the moon revolves around the world of the elements, as its center. For it really works very differently from the other planets."

He influenced Kepler's later-discarded "Music of the Spheres" when he wrote: "quartile (90 degrees) is in sesquialterate ratio (3/2) to sextile (60 degrees), corresponding to the musical diapente. trine (120 degrees) is in sesquitertian ratio (4/3) to quartile (90 degrees), corresponding to the musical diatessaron."

Grafton writes: "Tangential thopugh Cardano thought this passage was to the kind of astrology he wanted to practice, it fascinated one of his most thoughtful readers, Johannes Kepler, who glimpsed in it a solid justification for the reformed astrology, empirical in its foundation and general in its bearing, with which he hoped to replace the ancient art of individual horoscopy."

Cardano was attacked by, and counterattacked, Pico della Mirandola.

Cardano innovated in the Information Economy, being the exceptional writer who gained intellectual property rights to his own books, thereby securing a lifelong revenue stream; and printing a list of his forthcoming book titles, which publishers circulated; and inventing new genres, such as the chatty astrology book about celebrities, filled with celebrity gossip. He was a brilliant Late Modern intellect trapped in the Early Modern Era an encumbered with contradictory ancient and medieval techniques and metaphysics. Today he'd be one of the very top bloggers, and on the major TV talk shows.

I have worked out a Dark Energy theory based on my reading of Cardano, which I may mnention here later.