The End of the World
Réflexions sur les Comètes qui peuvent approcher de la Terre.
One engraved plate & one woodcut head-piece vignette. 40 pp. 8vo, attractive modern marbled boards, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Paris: Gibert, 1773.
First edition of this famous book which caused a panic in Paris before it was published. Lalande “caused another stir in 1773, when he discussed the possibility of a collision between the earth and a comet. His work on the perturbation of comets by the planets indicated that the orbit of a comet might be altered enough to make a collision with the earth possible. He realized that the likelihood of such a collision was extremely slight, but he failed to emphasize this point in summarizing his paper before the Academy. The result was a panic in Paris based on the rumor that Lalande had predicted the imminent destruction of the earth. Even prompt publication of the entire paper [this book] did not completely reassure the public.”–D.S.B., VII, p. 581.
❧ Lalande, pp. 536-37. Yeomans, Comets, pp. 166-67.
Item ID: 6362