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De Mairan's book on aurorae, 1754

De Mairan's book on aurorae, 1754

E115/0417

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50.8 MB (1.1 MB compressed)

3578 x 4961 pixels

30.2 x 41.9 cm ⏐ 11.9 x 16.5 in (300dpi)

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Credit

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

De Mairan's book on aurorae. Title page of the second edition of Traite Physique et Historique de l'Aurore Boreale (Physical traits and history of the aurora borealis), published in 1754 by the French geophysicist Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan (1678-1771). This was one of the first books devoted entirely to describing the aurorae, displays of coloured lights in the sky, caused by solar activity and usually seen only in the polar regions. The French text mentions the French Royal Academy of Sciences, and indicates that the book was published in Paris under the royal imprint. The artwork consists of angels bearing regal symbols.

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