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Cosmography in the Age of Discovery and the Scientific Revolution

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Provides a unique perspective on the countries involved in solving the “Longitude problem”
  • Explores the comprehensive history of cosmography over nearly four centuries
  • Incorporates original records and archival material from the time period

Part of the book series: Historical & Cultural Astronomy (HCA)

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Table of contents (5 chapters)


About this book

This book tells the comprehensive history of cosmography from the 15th Century Age of Discovery onward. During this time, cosmography—a science that combined geography and astronomy to inform us about our place in the universe—was deeply tied to ongoing developments in politics, exploration, culture, and technology.

The book offers in-depth historical context over nearly four centuries, focusing in particular on the often neglected role that Portugal and Spain played in the development of cosmography. It details the great activity emerging from the Iberian and Italic peninsulas, including numerous voyagers of exploration, a clear commercial intention, and advancements in map-making techniques. In doing so, it provides a unique perspective on the “Longitude problem” not available in most other literature on the topic.

Rigorously researched and sweeping in scope, this book will serve as an invaluable source for historians and readers interested in the history of science, of astronomy, and of exploration from a southern European perspective.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Depto. de Astrofísica, Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC), Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain

    David Barrado Navascués

About the author

Dr. David Barrado Navascués is a senior researcher at the Spanish Centro de Astrobiologia. He works at the European Science Astronomical Center (ESAC), which is part of the European Space Agency near Madrid. At the Instituto Nacional de Ténica Aerospacial (INTA), he has been Principal Investigator and was the National Project Manager for the Spanish collaboration within MIRI, the Mid-Infrared Instrument on board the James Webb Space Telescope. He was also previously the director of the Spanish-German Center Calar Alto Observatory.

Dr. Barrado Navascués was a postdoc in the theoretical department of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, the Max-Plank Institut für Astronomie (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he finished his PhD dissertation in Astrophysics; initiated at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He also has a PhD in Philosophy and Humanities and received the 2021 award to the best PhD dissertation by the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage. He has also held prestigious fellowships, such as: Fulbright scientist, a NASA/NSF fellowship, and a contract by the Ramón y Cajal program.

Dr. Barrado Navascués’ research topics focus on the search and characterization of the properties of substellar objects and exoplanets, as well as properties of stars in open clusters. He has specialized in stellar and planetary system formation using varying observational techniques, including optical to far infrared imaging, spectroscopy, and ground-based and space-borne telescopes. This observational effort has produced more than 300 articles in well-known journals such A&A, ApJ, AJ, Nature, Science and MNRAS, with a significant impact (H factor=71). He has proudly published several books about science and history of science for the general public.

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