Woodcut device of the Medicean stars on title & two woodcut diagrams in the text. 2 p.l., 54 pp., one blank leaf. Small 4to, late 19th-cent. green diced morocco, arms of the House of Visconti in gilt within a richly decorated border, spine richly gilt, a.e.g. Florence: P. Cecconcelli, 1619.
First edition and a very fine copy. Although published under the name of his pupil and assistant Mario Guiducci (1585-1646), the present book is actually the work of Galileo (the autograph manuscript survives). It is a concealed reply to the attack of the Jesuit Orazio Grassi’s De Tribus Cometis, published earlier in the same year, and marks the beginning of Galileo’s long controversy with Scheiner and the other Jesuit astronomers over the comet of 1618. The dispute continued for several years and resulted in Galileo’s scientific manifesto Il Saggiatore (1623) which contains his most important ideas on the philosophy of scientific investigation.
In addition to a description of the comets of 1618, Galileo discusses the satellites of Jupiter, the uses of the telescope, fixed stars not visible to the naked eye, etc.
❧ Carli & Favaro 80. Cinti 63.
Item ID: 5480