London: Taylor and Francis, 1862. 1st Edition. COMPLETE, FULL VOLUME FIRST EDITION DE LA RUE’S BAKERIAN LECTURE PRESENTING HIS GROUNDBREAKING ASTRONOMICAL PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 1860. ALSO PRESENT IS JOHN TYNDALL’S CLASSICAL PAPER ON RADIANT HEAT.
DE LA RUE: Of this volume’s 25 plates, 13 are specific to de la Rue’s paper including some of the most famous images of the Sun ever rendered. de la Rue’s efforts constituted “the first systematic application of photography to a solar eclipse” (Bray, Plasma Loops, 2). The photographs he produced “were the first to definitively demonstrate that the corona seen around the moon during a solar eclipse is a phenomenon associated with the sun rather than the moon” (Davidson, Warren de la Rue, 2). There had been much scientific debate as to the nature and origin of the red flames visible at the edges of the moon during an eclipse. De La Rue’s photographs firmly established the exclusively solar character of the red flames, now known as prominences.
Warren de la Rue was a British chemist and astronomer whose efforts “helped make photography one of astronomy’s greatest tools” (Stanford Solar Center). de la Rue adapted wet plate photography to lunar photography, pioneering “the application of photography to the study of the Moon and Sun [and] in the process demonstrating the value of an equatorially mounted, clock-driven reflecting telescope as a camera, techniques that greatly accelerated the evolution of the new science of astrophysics” (Biographical Astronomers, 284).
In 1860 de la Rue took an instrument he had invented, the photoheliograph – the first astronomical instrument constructed for the photography of celestial objects (and it is described in detail in this paper) to Spain with the hope of photographing a total solar eclipse on July 18th. The photographs de la Rue took represent the first extended series of photographic observations of the Sun over a solar cycle.
When de la Rue presented to the Royal Society, George Airy insisted upon the import of reproducing the original photographs without any alteration whatsoever. Airy believed that photography could standardize observation and argued that “exact facsimiles of the two eclipse photographs [were] infinitely more important than composites or retouched plates” (Pang, Empire and the Sun, 93). “De la Rue made two facsimile engravings of his photographs but it was very difficult work; copies for reproduction had to be stronger and more carefully made” (ibid). The two facsimile engravings are included among the 13 de la Rue plates in this volume, a number of which are also hand-colored.
JOHN TYNDALL: John Tyndall’s classical paper on radiant heat is a first edition of the first quantification and demonstration that atmospheric gases emit heat (are infrared emitters); this is a seminal work in atmospheric science. Prior to Tyndall it was widely surmised that the Earth's atmosphere has a Greenhouse Effect, but he was first to prove it. The proof was that water vapor strongly absorbed infrared radiation.The first part of this memoir appeared in 1851 and we offer it both as a bound volume and as an extract.
ALSO INCLUDED IN THIS VOLUME: 2 important papers by George Boole including his theory of probabilities and Part I of his paper on differential equations. Stokes’ paper on fluorescence is present as is Fleeming Jenkin’s on undersea telecommunications. Item #829
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Taylor and Francis. (11.5 x 9.25 inches; 288 x 231mm). , 24, , 25, . 25 plates. Full volume, complete. Very small stamp on the rear of the title page; tiny, nearly invisible stamps on plates. Small closed tear on the title page. Handsomely rebound in aged calf. 5 raised bands at the spine, each gilt-ruled; gilt-tooled fleur de lis at the spine. Red and black, gilt-lettered morocco spine labels. Tightly bound. New endpapers. Exceptionally bright and clean throughout (including the plates). Near fine.