# Astronomy, Relativity Theory

First edition. Venice: Bernardinus Bindonus, 1537. Very rare editio princeps of Apollonius’ Conics, the basic treatise on the subject, “which recognized and named the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola” (Horblit 4, on the later edition of 1566). This is one of the three greatest mathematical treatises of antiquity, alongside those of... More

Item #3075

First edition. Königsberg: Gebrüder Bornträger, 1841-42. “Bessel's measurements of positions for about 50,000 stars and rigorous methods of observation (and correction of observations) took astronomy to a new level of precision. He was the first to accurately measure the parallax, and hence the distance, of star other than the Sun... More

Item #2657

First edition. Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1818. A fine copy of this work which “constitutes a milestone in the history of astronomical observations, for until then positions of stars could not be given with comparable accuracy: through Bessel’s work, Bradley’s observations were made to mark the beginning of modern astrometry” (Walter... More

Item #2660

First edition. Bologna: G.B. Ferroni, 1648. An outstanding copy of this rare compendious scholastic mathematical work by the Jesuit mathematician Mario Bettini (1582-1657), encompassing all the major fields of mathematics, but paying special attention to geometry. Bettini’s Aerarium covers a wealth of information not just in mathematics but also astronomical... More

Item #2435

London: Printed by N[icholas] O[kes] for Simon Waterson, 1609. First edition, very rare, of one of the earliest English books on dialing, the last of four books published by the famous English mathematician during his lifetime. It is unusual to find such early English scientific books in fine condition and... More

Item #3366

London: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1948. First edition, the extremely rare offprint, of the first published paper to propound the ‘steady-state’ model of the universe, according to which the universe is expanding but unchanging, with no beginning or end, and in which matter is continually being created... More

Item #4162

First edition. London: Taylor & Francis, 1904. Rare offprint issue of the Brace experiment - the first optical experiment measuring the relative motion of Earth and the luminiferous aether which was sufficiently precise to detect magnitudes of second order to v/c. The Brace experiment was of great importance for the... More

Item #2990

Rome: Fabio di Falco, 1665. First editions of these two exceptionally rare publications on the comet of 1664-5, which was observed my many astronomers, including Auzout, Borelli, Fabri, Hooke, Hevelius, Petit, and Newton as a studnt. The second work is also especially notable for containing the first published description of... More

Item #4194

Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1581. First edition of Clavius’ masterwork on the theory and construction of sundials, “la plus grand ouvrage existent sur la gnomonique” (Houzeau & Lancaster). Clavius considers the astronomical background, the geometrical theory and the various construction methods. The design of sundials occupied many mathematicians in this period... More

Item #3855

Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637. First edition, a fine, large copy in untouched contemporary vellum, of Descartes’ first and most famous work. Following the Discours, now celebrated as one of the canonical texts of Western philosophy, are three ‘Essais’, the last of which, La Géométrie, contains the birth of analytical or... More

Item #3990

Lancaster PA; Leipzig: American Physical Society: Hirzel, 1935; 1916. First edition, very rare offprints, of the theoretical discovery of the concept of a ‘wormhole,’ “a hypothetical ‘tunnel’ connecting two different points in space-time in such a way that a trip through the wormhole could take much less time than a.... More

Item #4296

A fascinating, but somewhat depressing letter showing the dire financial straits in which Einsetin’s ex-wife Mileva, and their two sons, found themselves in as the Nazi’s came to power in Germany. Einstein had already moved to the United States with his new wife Else, but had returned to Europe in... More

Item #4238

Berlin: Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1914. First edition of this extremely rare offprint, a remarkable presentation copy inscribed by Einstein to the theoretical physicist Gunnar Nordström, often designated by modern writers as ‘The Einstein of Finland’. Einstein had an extended correspondence with Nordström on the subject of Nordström’s own competing... More

Item #4148

Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1925. First edition, extremely rare author’s presentation offprint (not to be confused with the much more common trade offprint – see below), and the copy of Einstein’s son Hans Albert, of Einstein’s first original paper on unified field theory, and the first to use the term... More

Item #4035

Berlin: Königlich Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1916. First edition, offprint issue, in the original printed wrappers, of the paper in which Einstein first proposed the existence of gravitational waves on the basis of general relativity, which he had completed just eight months earlier. “In June 1916 [Einstein] published a follow-up paper... More

Item #4278

Leibzig: S. Hirzel, 1916. First edition, extremely rare author’s offprint issue, of the theoretical discovery of the concept of a ‘wormhole,’ “a hypothetical ‘tunnel’ connecting two different points in space-time in such a way that a trip through the wormhole could take much less time than a journey between the... More

Item #3695

First edition. Venice: Sumptibus Lucentonii Juntae Typographi, 1533. A fine copy, with contemporary annotations, of these very rare ephemerides, containing tables as well as astrological prognostications for the years 1534 through 1551, each preceded by a special title page. ❧Horblit 447 (two leaves in in facsimile); Honeyman 1448 (10 leaves... More

Item #3211

First edition. Berlin: Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1828. First printing of what is now called the Gauss-Newton interpolation formula; which enables one to predict the value of a quantity given a finite number of observations. Gauss had lectured on the interpolation formula at Göttingen in 1812; his then student Encke... More

Item #2983

La Flèche: George Griveau, 1645. Presentation copy of the first edition of this rare and richly illustrated Jesuit anti-Copernican tract by Jacques Grandami (1588-1672), rector of the Jesuit college of La Flèche, which was attended by both Descartes and Mersenne. In this work Grandami employs the ‘magnetic philosophy’ initiated by... More

Item #4171

Naples: Matthaeus Nuccius, 1627. First Italian edition, very rare, of Grassi’s counter-polemic against Galileo’s Il saggiatore (1623). This is the concluding work in the series of publications which document the “controversy of the comets,” one of the most infamous polemics in the history of science. According to Drake, these texts... More

Item #4009

First edition. Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1702. A fine copy of the first text book of astronomy based on Newtonian principles, which contains the first printings of Newton's lunar theory and his "classical scholia". Babson 71; Gray 87. "The nephew of James Gregory, the mathematician, and the son of the Laird... More

Item #2221

London: Printed for the Author, and Sold by Mr. Sandby, 1765. First edition, extremely rare, published by Harrison (1693-1776) himself with the technical assistance of the optical instrument maker James Short (1710-68), in which Harrison defended the success of his chronometer H4, and staked his claim to be awarded the... More

Item #3952

[1813-1850]. An extraordinary collection of works by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), the outstanding astronomer and physical scientist of his day, assembled for presentation to his son William James Herschel (not to be confused with John’s father, the astronomer Frederick William). The collection includes offprints of Herschel’s three most important publications... More

Item #4321

London: Richard Taylor, 1833. First edition, the very rare offprint issue, of Herschel’s famous ‘Slough Catalogue,’ which includes 2306 nebulae and star clusters, 525 of which were discovered by Herschel himself. (Parkinson, Breakthroughs 296). He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1836 for this work... More

Item #3162

First edition. Berlin: Julius Springer, 1924. Offprint of this important paper in the history of general relativity. Hilbert declared himself that this paper was essentially just a reprint, with minor editorial notes, of his two earlier papers under the same title from 1915-16, in which he presented the field equations... More

Item #2312