On the Secular Variation of the Moon's Mean Motion extracted from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 143, Part III, 1853, pp. 397-406
London: Taylor and Francis, 1853. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION of an important and consequential paper in which John Couch Adams announces new mathematical methods in dealing with the pertubations of the Moon, and in so doing corrects Laplace's famed 1788 memoir. Laplace studied the Moon's mean rate of motion relative to the stars; his work provided an explanation in terms of changes in the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit considering only the radial gravitational forces on the Moon from the Sun and Earth and had obtained close agreement with historical observational records. "Adams showed that Laplace's solution was incorrect. In particular, Laplace had ignored a variation in solar eccentricity that introduces into the differential equations for the moon's motion a series of additional terms" (DSB I, p. 54b). In other works, Adams paper showed that while tangential terms vanish in the first-order theory of Laplace, they became substantial when quadratic terms are admitted. Small terms integrated in time come to have large effects and Adams concluded that Plana had overestimated the secular acceleration by approximately 1.66 inches per century" (Wikipedia). Adams "paper caused a sharp scientific controversy, marked by angry chauvinism on the part of several French astronomers. Their attack stimulated a number of independent investigations of the subject, all of which confirmed Adams' results. The matter was definitely settles in his favor by 1861, but not without hard feelings" (DSB 54b). Item #310
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Richard Taylor and William Francis. Quarto. (11 x 8.5 inches; 275 x 213mm). pp. 397-406. No wrappers as extracted from Philosophical Transactions. Clean and bright; near fine condition.