Books Should Be Free is now Loyal Books Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads 

History of Astronomy By: George Forbes (18491936) 

First Page:[Illustration: SIR ISAAC NEWTON (From the bust by Roubiliac In Trinity College, Cambridge.)]HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY BY GEORGE FORBES, M.A., F.R.S., M. INST. C. E., (FORMERLY PROFESSOR OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, ANDERSON'S COLLEGE, GLASGOW) AUTHOR OF "THE TRANSIT OF VENUS," RENDU'S "THEORY OF THE GLACIERS OF SAVOY," ETC., ETC. CONTENTS PREFACE BOOK I. THE GEOMETRICAL PERIOD 1. PRIMITIVE ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY 2. ANCIENT ASTRONOMY CHINESE AND CHALDĂ†ANS 3. ANCIENT GREEK ASTRONOMY 4. THE REIGN OF EPICYCLES FROM PTOLEMY TO COPERNICUS BOOK II. THE DYNAMICAL PERIOD 5. DISCOVERY OF THE TRUE SOLAR SYSTEM TYCHO BRAHE KEPLER 6. GALILEO AND THE TELESCOPE NOTIONS OF GRAVITY BY HORROCKS, ETC. 7. SIR ISAAC NEWTON LAW OF UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION 8. NEWTON'S SUCCESSORS HALLEY, EULER, LAGRANGE, LAPLACE, ETC. 9. DISCOVERY OF NEW PLANETS HERSCHEL, PIAZZI, ADAMS, AND LE VERRIER BOOK III. OBSERVATION 10. INSTRUMENTS OF PRECISION SIZE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM 11. HISTORY OF THE TELESCOPE SPECTROSCOPE BOOK IV. THE PHYSICAL PERIOD 12. THE SUN 13. THE MOON AND PLANETS 14. COMETS AND METEORS 15. THE STARS AND NEBULĂ† INDEX PREFACE An attempt has been made in these pages to trace the evolution of intellectual thought in the progress of astronomical discovery, and, by recognising the different points of view of the different ages, to give due credit even to the ancients. No one can expect, in a history of astronomy of limited size, to find a treatise on "practical" or on "theoretical astronomy," nor a complete "descriptive astronomy," and still less a book on "speculative astronomy." Something of each of these is essential, however, for tracing the progress of thought and knowledge which it is the object of this History to describe. The progress of human knowledge is measured by the increased habit of looking at facts from new points of view, as much as by the accumulation of facts. The mental capacity of one age does not seem to differ from that of other ages; but it is the imagination of new points of view that gives a wider scope to that capacity. And this is cumulative, and therefore progressive. Aristotle viewed the solar system as a geometrical problem; Kepler and Newton converted the point of view into a dynamical one. Aristotle's mental capacity to understand the meaning of facts or to criticise a train of reasoning may have been equal to that of Kepler or Newton, but the point of view was different. Then, again, new points of view are provided by the invention of new methods in that system of logic which we call mathematics. All that mathematics can do is to assure us that a statement A is equivalent to statements B, C, D, or is one of the facts expressed by the statements B, C, D; so that we may know, if B, C, and D are true, then A is true. To many people our inability to understand all that is contained in statements B, C, and D, without the cumbrous process of a mathematical demonstration, proves the feebleness of the human mind as a logical machine. For it required the new point of view imagined by Newton's analysis to enable people to see that, so far as planetary orbits are concerned, Kepler's three laws (B, C, D) were identical with Newton's law of gravitation (A). No one recognises more than the mathematical astronomer this feebleness of the human intellect, and no one is more conscious of the limitations of the logical process called mathematics, which even now has not solved directly the problem of only three bodies. These reflections, arising from the writing of this History, go to explain the invariable humility of the great mathematical astronomers. Newton's comparison of himself to the child on the seashore applies to them all. As each new discovery opens up, it may be, boundless oceans for investigation, for wonder, and for admiration, the great astronomers, refusing to accept mere hypotheses as true, have founded upon these discoveries a science as exact in its observation of facts as in theories... Continue reading book >> 
Genres for this book 

History 
Science 
eBook links 

Wikipedia – George Forbes 
Wikipedia – History of Astronomy 
eBook Downloads  

ePUB eBook • iBooks for iPhone and iPad • Nook • Sony Reader 
Kindle eBook • Mobi file format for Kindle 
Read eBook • Load eBook in browser 
Text File eBook • Computers • Windows • Mac 
Review this book 
