London: The Royal Society, 1853. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION EXTRACT. 2 plates; 1 large fold-out plate. The plates are toned; there is very slight toning at the edges of the paper; minor. Very good condition.
Airy was an English mathematician and astronomer as well as Lucasian professor at Cambridge and Astronomer Royal. Among “his many achievements include work on planetary orbits, measuring the mean density of the Earth, a method of solution of two-dimensional problems in solid mechanics and, in his role as Astronomer Royal, establishing Greenwich as the location of the prime meridian” (Wikipedia). Airy’s discovery of a new inequality in the motions of Venus and the earth is in some respects his most remarkable achievement.
Airy's abstract for this paper: "Till the beginning of the present century, neither the mechanical theory of the moon’s motion, nor the numerical determination of her principal elements, nor the lunar tables founded on these, were sufficiently accurate for the computation of a distant eclipse. And (perhaps in consequence of the evident imperfection of these essential grounds of calculation) the mode of treating chronological eclipses was, in most instances, extremely lax. The general result of these deficiencies is, that in any point of the slightest delicacy, the calculations made before 1810 are absolutely worthless. 2. The extension and general improvement of the lunar theory by Laplace, and in particular the determination of the secular equations depending on the square of the time, very greatly altered the state of lunar and chronological science. Partly by the stimulation of foreign academies, partly by individual enterprise, lunar tables were soon produced which embodied the principal results of the new theory, and which were founded on more numerous and more carefully reduced observations than had been used before. The extensive tables by Burg, printed by the Bureau des Longitudes in 1806, and the smaller tables by Oltmanns from the same elements, printed in the fourth supplementary volume of the Berliner Jahrbuch in 1808, will long be remarked as important steps in lunar calculation." Item #1278