A. Pannekoek, "A History of Astronomy"
Dover Publications | 1989 | ISBN: 0486659941, 0045200025, 087471365X | 336 pages | Djvu | 26,4 MB
Few histories of astronomy offer the special human dimension of this book. For the
late Professor Pannekoek (University of Amsterdam), the history of astronomy
consisted in the growth of man's concept of his world. The study of the cosmos
became an essential part of the history of human culture, an adventure of the mind.
In this well-balanced account of that adventure, the author is at pains to relate the
development of astronomy to the social and cultural background in which it is
nurtured. Thus, the effect of changes in political conditions, the influence of
geography, the growth of industry and of communications methods are clearly and
Dr. Pannekoek begins with an unusually detailed account of astronomy in ancient
times, including Babylonian sky-lore, Assyrian astrology, the Ptolemaic worldview,
Hellenistic astronomy, the epicycle theory, and Arabian astronomy. The growth of astronomy after Copernicus comprises the second part of the book, acquainting the reader with the epoch-making work of Kepler and Newton and the astonishing developments of celestial mechanics during the eighteenth century.
Part III begins with Herschel, the gifted amateur whose observations opened up new horizons, and ends with Eddington's pioneering studies of the internal constitution of stars.
Comprehensive, well-written and full of small, revealing details that attest to the
scope and depth of the author's learning, this splendid survey belongs in the library
of every astronomer—or anyone interested in the grand mystery of the cosmos and
man's attempts to penetrate it.