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University of Chicago Press
On Sunspots

On Sunspots

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Galileo’s telescopic discoveries, and especially his observation of sunspots, caused great debate in an age when the heavens were thought to be perfect and unchanging. Christoph Scheiner, a Jesuit mathematician, argued that sunspots were planets or moons crossing in front of the Sun. Galileo, on the other hand, countered that the spots were on or near the surface of the Sun itself, and he supported his position with a series of meticulous observations and mathematical demonstrations that eventually convinced even his rival.


On Sunspots collects the correspondence that constituted the public debate, including the first English translation of Scheiner’s two tracts as well as Galileo’s three letters, which have previously appeared only in abridged form. In addition, Albert Van Helden and Eileen Reeves have supplemented the correspondence with lengthy introductions, extensive notes, and a bibliography. The result will become the standard work on the subject, essential for students and historians of astronomy, the telescope, and early modern Catholicism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226707167
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/30/2010
Pages: 410
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Eileen Reeves is professor of comparative literature at Princeton University. Albert Van Helden is professor of the history of science at the University of Utrecht and the translator of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations vii

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

2 Sunspots before the telescope 9

3 Turning the telescope to the Sun: Thomas Harriot and Johannes and David Fabricius 25

4 Christoph Scheiner 37

5 Tres Epistolae 59

6 Galileo answers Apelles 75

7 Galileo's first letter 87

8 Galileo's second letter 107

9 A more accurate inquiry from Ingolstadt 171

10 Accuratior Disquisitio 183

11 Galileo responds and goes into print 233

12 Galileo's third letter 251

13 Rematch, 1630-1632 307


1 Scheiner and Galileo on the nature of the Moon 331

2 Galileo to Maffeo Cardinal Barberini 337

3 Carlo Cardinal Conti to Galileo on Scripture 349

4 Scheiner's calculation of the transit of Venus 353

5 Galileo's demonstrations 357

6 Front matter of Istoria e dimostrazioni intorno alle macchie solari e loro accidenti 371

Bibliography 381

Index 401

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On Sunspots 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runs in her breathing rapid. "Someone is going to try to kill you Ivestatic!" (Sorry if i spelt your name wrong!) "Its a the dawn of the Clans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are moving to brighten all res.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh nite