Kepler's Rudolphine Tables, 1627

Kepler's Rudolphine Tables, 1627

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Credit: NOAA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Kepler's Rudolphine Tables. Frontispiece to the German astronomer Johannes Kepler's (1571- 1630) Rudolphine Tables published in 1627. It depicts the astronomers Copernicus, Ptolemy, Tycho and Hipparchus in the Temple of Astronomy. A picture of Kepler working by candlelight is on the panel on the base at left.The Rudolphine Tables contained detailed observations of the positions of the stars and planets made by Tycho and Kepler. This data was used to devise Kepler's three fundamental laws of planetary motion. The tables allowed, for the first time, the calculation of planetary positions for any time in the past or future. They were validated when a transit of Mercury predicted by the tables was observed by Gassendi in 1631.

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