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The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy
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  • 52 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 380 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.67 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 520/.9
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QB15 .C35 1999
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Astronomy--History
    • Religion and literature--History--19th century
    • Christianity and art--History--19th century
    • Art and religion--History--19th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521576000 | ISBN-10: 0521576008)

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, and one which has repeatedly led to fundamental changes in our view of the world. This book covers the history of our study of the cosmos from prehistory through to a survey of modern astronomy and astrophysics (sure to be of interest to future historians of twentieth-century astronomy). It does not attempt to cover everything, but deliberately concentrates on the important themes and topics. These include stellar astronomy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, at the time subordinate to the study of the solar system, but the source of many important concepts in modern astronomy, and the Copernican revolution, which led to the challenge of ancient authorities in many areas, not just astronomy. This is an essential text for students of the history of science and for students of astronomy who require a historical background to their studies.

• A textbook of manageable size for students of astronomy and history of science • Begins in prehistory and ends with a survey of contemporary astronomy, emphasizing key themes rather than covering everything • Includes glossary and directions for further reading


Preface; 1. Astronomy before history Clive Ruggles and Michael Hoskin; 2 Astronomy in antiquity Michael Hoskin; 3. Astronomy in China Christopher Cullen; 4. Islamic astronomy Michael Hoskin and Owen Gingerich; 5. The Astrolabe Michael Hoskin; 6. Medieval Latin astronomy Michael Hoskin and Owen Gingerich; 7. From geometry to physics: astronomy transformed Michael Hoskin; 8. The refracting telescope in the seventeenth century J. A. Bennett; 9. Newton and Newtonianism Michael Hoskin; 10. The astronomy of the universe of stars Michael Hoskin; 11. The message of starlight: the rise of astrophysics David Dewhirst and Michael Hoskin; 12. Astronomy's widening horizons Michael Hoskin and Owen Gingerich; Reference Guide; Chronology; Glossary; Further reading; Picture acknowledgments; Index.


' … this book is one of the most comprehensive histories of the subject I have seen … a highly readable and fascinating account'. Modern Astronomer

'An astronomer once remarked that they would love to know more about the history of their subject but that they were too busy making it. Well, this book from Cambridge University Press could be the solution to that problem. Michael Hoskin, editor of the Journal for the History of Astronomy, and a well-known and accomplished historian has done an admirable job in editing this volume. The reviewer has no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone interested in astronomy or the history of science.' A. D. Andrews, Irish Astronomical Journal

'This is an important addition to any science or history library.' Gnomon

' … will appeal to readers well beyond the university to whom it has been designed. It is a book to peruse for intellectual enjoyment, and to treasure for reference.' M. T. Black, Endeavour

'Even so, it maintains the clarity and elegance of exposition of its progenitor … For some years now, there has not been a single authoritative and readable history of astronomy currently in print. But the Cambridge Concise History, and its Illustrated History forebear, fill that gap with signal success.' Allan Chapman, The Observatory

'… the book is well written, informative and interesting … it admirably lives up to its title. If you want a concise general history of astronomy, this is the book. It is readable, well written, and edited by a leader in the field.' Jon Reynolds, Journal of the British Astronomical Association


Clive Ruggles, Michael Hoskin, Christopher Cullen, Owen Gingerich, J. A. Bennet, David Dewhirst

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