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Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757)

Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757) by John M. Steele
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The discovery of a gradual acceleration in the moon's mean motion by Edmond Halley in the last decade of the seventeenth century led to a revival of interest in reports of astronomical observations from antiquity. These observations provided the only means to study the moon's 'secular acceleration', as this newly-discovered acceleration became known. This book contains the first detailed study of the use of ancient and medieval astronomical observations in order to investigate the moon's secular acceleration from its discovery by Halley to the establishment of the magnitude of the acceleration by Richard Dunthorne, Tobias Mayer and Jerome Lalande in the 1740s and 1750s. Making extensive use of previously unstudied manuscripts, this work shows how different astronomers used the same small body of preserved ancient observations in different ways in their work on the secular acceleration. In addition, this work looks at the wider context of the study of the moon's secular acceleration, including its use in debates of biblical chronology, whether the heavens were made up of ather, and the use of astronomy in determining geographical longitude.
It also discusses wider issues of the perceptions and knowledge of ancient and medieval astronomy in the early-modern period. This book will be of interest to historians of astronomy, astronomers and historians of the ancient world.
Springer; February 2012
168 pages; ISBN 9781461421498
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Title: Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1691-1757)
Author: John M. Steele
 
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