London: Printed for Janes Knapton and John Clarke, 1723. 1st Edition. EARLY ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE PAPER IN WHICH HALLEY FIRST PREDICTS AND DESCRIBES WHAT WOULD COME TO BE KNOWN AS ‘HALLEY’S COMET’. Visible every 75 to 76 years, Halley’s is the only short orbit comet regularly visible to the naked eye, as well as the only comet one might conceivably see twice in a lifetime.
Halley's research on comets was published in 1705 in the Philosophical Transactions and separately at Oxford in the same year in Latin and at London in English with the title "A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets". The currently offered stand alone publication in this volume of Curiosa, is the first such separate publication since 1705; additionally, this is a first edition of Curiosa.
Edmund Halley (1656-1742) was an English astronomer, physicist, mathematician, and geophysicist best known for this work: the computation of the orbit of what came to be known as Halley’s Comet. As noted above, Halley published "A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets" in Latin in 1705. In it, he catalogued his research culled from searching the historical records of 24 comets appearing near Earth between 1337 to 1698. Halley thought those observations suspiciously similar in terms of orbit and other parameters. As a result, it led him, in this work, to propose that one comet might be visiting Earth again and again, by his reckoning, approximately every 75 to 76 years.
The comet in question had appeared in 1531, 1607, and 1682. Halley surmised that the comet would return in 1758, though he did not live long enough to see its return. Although Halley’s work had aroused the interest of astronomers, it was not until the comet reappeared as predicated in 1758 that the scientific community took interest.
Halley was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, succeeding John Flamsteed. After his death and the return of the 1758 comet, the comet was named Halley’s Comet, officially, 1P/Halley.
NOTE: This volume contains many additional papers by Halley, as well as papers by De Moire, Craig, Wallis, Moline and others. Item #749
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Printed for Janes Knapton and John Clarke, 1723. 8vo. 372 pages. 7 fold-out copperplate engravings. Bears the armorial bookplate of Lord Rodney, possibly George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron, a famous British naval officer in the American Revolutionary War. Bound in full contemporary leather, rebuked. Five raised bands at the spine with gilt-tooling in the compartments; gilt-ruled front and rear boards. The covers and spine are rubbed and scuffed, but due to repacking, the binding is very solid and tight. Bright and clean throughout. Very good condition.