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‘Your astronomers and ours differ exceedingly’: the controversy over the ‘new star’ of 1572 in the light of a newly discovered text by Thomas Digges

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2011
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Science
Journal number1
Volume44
Number of pages32
Pages29-60
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article presents evidence that an anonymous publication of 1573, a Letter sent by a gentleman of England [concerning …] the myraculous starre nowe shyning, was written by Thomas Digges, England's first Copernican. It tells the story of how it arose out of research commissioned by Elizabeth I's privy counsellors in response to the conventional argument of Jean Gosselin, librarian to Henri III of France, that the star was a comet which presaged wars. The text is significant because it seems to contain the observations and opinions that Digges held before he completed his other astronomical treatise, the groundbreaking Alae seu scalae mathematicae. It also casts some light on the development of Digges's radical and puritan views about the star, Copernican astronomy, the infinity of the universe and a belief that the ‘latter days’ of the world had arrived.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=BJH The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, British Journal for the History of Science, 44 (1), pp 29-60 2011, © 2011 Cambridge University Press.