Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473-1543. De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium Libri
VI. Nuremberg, Apud Joh. Petreium, 1543.
First edition. Facsimile of errata leaf; woodcut initials; 233 drawings,
101 pages of tables. Binding of old vellum, rebacked.
Copernicus, knowing his discovery would be called heretical, addressed the
dedicatory preface to Pope Paul III. Copernicus made systematic
astronomical observations for many years, basing his calculations on
trigonometry. His heliocentric theory of the planetary system became the
cornerstone of modern astronomy. He demonstrated how a heliocentric
conception made it possible to accurately calculate planetary positions and
distances from the sun and to explain the cycle of seasons, precession of
equinoxes and retrograde motion of planets.
This copy was owned at one time by the Harvard professor of astronomy
Robert W. Wilson and has his bookplate in it. Professor Owen Gingerich of
Harvard has done a census of copies of Copernicus. He notes that this copy
is "censored, originally with paper strips pasted on, and with a few other
Posner bought the book from H.P. Kraus in 1955; it was one of the first
important scientific titles in his collection.