The Satellites of Jupiter, from Galileo to Bradley

  • John North

Abstract

The satellites of Jupiter are hardly to the forefront of the typical astronomer’s consciousness, despite the remarkable findings of the Voyager mission. Even historians of astronomy tend to pass over the satellites in silence, perhaps thinking of them as nothing more than a trivial extension of the solar system—and paralleled by roughly comparable systems of moons around Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In the seventeenth century, however, they carried a cosmological message of great importance, for they were first seen at a time when the old and the new world systems were contending for the favor, not merely of astronomers, but of a significant fraction of the educated world. They were seen by Galileo in 1610. In 1676 Ole Rømer made use of them to show that light takes time to travel. My account runs for roughly half a century beyond this date, stopping at Bradley because, as I hope to explain, he marks the end of the first, largely empirical, phase of investigation of the satellites. I do not mean by this that no further empirical work was done—on the contrary, the most dedicated work of this sort was still in the future. Bradley’s proof of the aberration of light nevertheless clinched the argument for the finite velocity of light, at least in the eyes of reasonable men. He was one of the first to allow for the velocity of light in tables of the four satellites then recognized, and he it was who first saw that the inequalities in their motions are interconnected—and thus possibly a consequence of gravitational interactions. In a sense, therefore, he opened the way to the theoretical studies of this problem by Euler, Bailly, Lagrange, Laplace, and others.

Keywords

Mercury Europe Explosive Assure Eter 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Notes

  1. 1.
    Galileo Galilei, Le opere ,Antonio Favaro, editor, 20 Vols., (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909; repr. with additions, Barbera, Florence, 1929–1939 and 1965).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. Drake, Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (Doubleday, New York, 1957).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Kepler, Dioptrice (Augustae Vindelicorum, 1611).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    P. Humberd, “Le baptême des satellites de Jupiter,” Rev. Questions Sci. 117, 171, 175 (1940).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Kepler, Astionomi opera omnia ,Christian Frisch, editor, 8 Vols. (Frankfurt-Erlangen, 1858–1871; repr., Olms, Hildesheim, 1971).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    J. Kepler, Conversation with Galileo’s Sidereal Messenger, Edward Rosen, editor (Johnson Reprint, New York & London, 1965).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    A. M. Schyrlaeus de Rheita, Oculus Enoch et Eliae (Antwerp, 1645).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    C. Huygens, Cosmotheoros (The Hague, 1698).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Kepler, Narratio de ohservationihus . . . (Frankfurt, 1611).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Galileo Galilei, Istoria e dimonstrazioni intorno alle macchie solari e loro accidenti . . . (Rome, 1613).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stillman Drake, “Galileo and Satellite Predictions,” J. Hist. Astron. 10, 75–95 (1979).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    J. W. Shirley, editor, Thomas Harriot, Renaissance Scientist (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1974).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    R. M. McKeon, “Les débuts de l’astronomie de precision,” Physis 13, 225–230 (1971).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    A Borelli, Theorica Mediceorum planetarum (Florence, 1666), pp. 142–144.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    M. L. Righini Bonelli, “Galileo, l’orologio, il giovilabio,” Physis 13, 412–420 (1971).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    P. E. Ariotti, “Aspects of the Conception and Development of the Pendulum in the 17th Century,” Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. 8, 329–410 (1972).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    R. T. Gould, The Marine Chronometer, its History and Development (J. D. Potter, London, 1923), pp. 11–17.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    E. Halley, in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 18 (214), 237–256 (1694).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    R. Grant, History of Physical Astronomy(Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London, 1852).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    S. Mayr, Mundus Jovialis (Nuremberg, 1614). An English translation by A. O. Prickard is in Observatory 39, 367–381, 403–412, 443–452, 498–503 (1916).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    J. Klug, “Simon Marius aus Gunzenhausen und Galileo Galilei...,” Ahhandl. math.-phys. Kl. Königlich Bayerischen Akad. Wiss. 22, 385–526 (1906).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    J. A. C. Oudemans and J. Bosscha, “Galilee et Marius,” Arch. Néerl. Sci. Exactes Nat. ,2nd Ser., 8, 115–189 (1903).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    J. Bosscha, “Réhabilitation d’un astronome calumnié,” Arch. Néerl. Sci. Exactes Nat. ,2nd Ser. 12, 258–307, 490–528 (1907).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    J. H. Johnson, “The Discovery of the First Four Satellites of Jupiter,” J. Brit. Astron. Assoc. 41, 164–171 (1930–1931).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    P. Pagnini, “Galileo and Simon Mayr,” J. Brit. Astron. Assoc. 41, 415–422 (1930–1931).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Thomas Harriot, MS Petworth House HMC 241/IV.2.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. O. Halliwell, ed., Letters Illustrative of the Progress of Science (Historical Society of Science, London, 1841), pp. 38–40.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    S. P. Rigaud, Miscellaneous Works and Correspondence of the Rev. James Bradley (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1832).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    J. Roche, “Harriot, Galileo, and Jupiter’s Satellites,” Archeion 108, (1982).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Christoph Scheiner, De macuJis solaribus (Augsburg, 1612), pp. 27–31.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    P. Gassendi, Opera omnia ,Vol. 4 (Lyons, 1658).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    J.-B. Delambre, Historie de l’astronomie moderne ,2 Vols. (V. Courcier, Paris, 1821).Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    G. Riccioli, Almagestum novum . . . (Bologna, 1651, 1653), p. 489.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    P. Hérigone, Cursus mathematicus, 6 Vols. (Paris, 1634–1642), in particular Vol. 5.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    H. Brown, “Nicolas Claude Fabri De Peiresc,” Dictionary of Scientific Biography ,Vol. 10, pp. 488–492 (Scribners, New York, 1974).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    F. Fontana, Observationes (Naples, 1646), Tract 6, Cap. 2.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    J. Hevelius, Selenographia (Dantzig, 1647), p. 526.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Galileo Galilei, Il Saggiatore (Rome, 1623), pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    A. Koyré, La Révolution astronomique (Vrin, Paris, 1961), Part 3.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    J. D. Cassini, Mémoires pour servir a l’histoire des sciences . . . suivi de la vie de J.-D. Cassini (Bleuck, Paris, 1810.) The author is the great grandson of the subject Gian Domenico.Google Scholar
  41. R. Taton, “Gian-Domenico Cassini,” Dictionary of Scientific Biography ,Vol. 3, pp. 100–104 (Scribners, New York, 1971).Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    G. D. Cassini, Tabulae quotidianae revolutionis macularum Jovis . . . (Rome, 1665), p. 328.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    J. E. Montucla, Histoire des mathématiques (Paris, 1758), Vol. 2, p. 516.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    J.-B. Du Hamel, Regiae scientiarum academia historia (Paris, 1698), p. 145.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Anon., Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences (Paris, 1707), p. 78.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    I. B. Cohen, “Roemer and the First Determination of the Velocity of Light”, Isis 32, 327–79 (1940).Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    J. D. Cassini, “De l’origine et du progrès de l’astronomie,” in Recueil d’observations faites en plusieurs voyages. . .pour perfectionner l’astronomie et la géographie ,Messieurs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pp.38–39 (Paris, 1693).Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    R. Descartes, Oeuvres ,C. Adam and P. Tannery, editors (Vrin, Paris, 1969), Vol. 1, letter 57, pp. 307–312.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    C. Huygens, Oeuvres completes (La Société Hollandaise des Sciences, Amsterdam, 1967), pp. 463–469.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    R. Hooke, Micrographia (London, 1665), p. 56.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    J. D. Cassini, extract from a letter written to the Journal des Sçavans printed in Phil. Trans. R. Soc ,No. 128, 681–683 (September, 1676).Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Isaac Newton, Correspondence ,H. W. Turnbull, editor, p. 3 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1959).Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    N. L. De Lacaille, “Observations astronomiques faites à l’Isle de France pendant l’année 1753,” Mém. Acad. R. Sci. ,44–54, especially 45 (1753).Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    N. L. De Lacaille, “Divers observations . . . etc.,” Mém. Acad. R. Sci. ,94–130, especially 105, 120, 129, 130 (1754).Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    T. Eibe and K. Meyer, Ole Rømers Adversaria (Copenhagen, 1910).Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    O. Roemer, “Démonstration touchant le mouvement de la lumière.,” J. Sçavans 4, 233–236 (1676); translated in Phil. Trans. R. Soc ,12, 803–804 (1677).Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    C. Huygens, Oeuvres completes (La Société Hollandaise des Sciences, The Hague, 1899), Vol,8, pp. 30–35.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    J. Pound, “New and Accurate Tables for the Ready Computing of the Eclipses of the First Satellite of Jupiter, by Addition Only,” Phil. Trans. R. S. 30, No. 361, 1021–1034, especially 1034 (1719).Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    P. Gassendi (tr. W. Rand), The Mirrour of True Nobility and Gentility (London, 1657).Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    J. Flamsteed, in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 15, No. 178, 1262–1265, and Table 2, Fig. 2, facing 1251 (1685).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    W. Whiston, A New Method for Discovering the Longitude (London, 1715).Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    W. Whiston, The Latitude and Longitude found by the. . . dipping needle ,(London, 1721).Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    J. Lalande, Astronomie (Paris, 1764), Vol. 3, pp. 197–202; second edition (Paris, 1771), Vol. 3, pp. 292–298.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    J. F. Weidler, Explicatio Jovilabii Cassiniani (Wittenberg, 1727).Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    J. D. Cassini, “Tabulae motuum . .,” in Recueil d’observations faites en plusieurs voyages ,Messieurs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pp. 9, 40, 103 (Paris, 1693).Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    J. D. Cassini, “Les Hypothèses . .,” in Recueil d’observations faites en plusieurs voyages, Messieurs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, p. 52 (Paris, 1693).Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    E. Halley, in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 30 (361), 1021–1034 (1717–1719).Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    E. Halley, Tabulae astronomicae ,John Bevis, editor (London, 1749).Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Isaac Newton, Principia mathematica (London, 1687), Book III, Prop. 23, Problem 5.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    J.-S. Bailly, Essai sur la theorie des satellites de Jupiter (Paris, 1766).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John North
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordEngland

Personalised recommendations