Observing Kirch's & Newton’s Comet

COMETS. Hagen, Joachim Heinrich

Joachim Heinrich Hagens / eloqv. poes. et mathes. Prof. Publ. / Bemerkung / der jüngsten grossen / Comet - Erscheinungen / auf Hoch= Fürstlichen gnädigsten Befehl / verabfasst und hervorgegeben.

Bayreut(h): Johann Gebhard, im Christ Jahr 1681


Quarto (200 x 160 mm.) [8], 79 p. Collation: ):(4, A-K4


Modern wrappers. Title with an engraving showing the comet's path through the constellations (with the earth visible below.) A very fine, clean copy with a slim line of damp to the extreme upper margin of the first few leaves and a very small, discreet repair in the blank margin of title.

An extremely rare work on the great comet of 1680 with references to Riccioli, Hevelius, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Descartes, et al. by a friend and pupil of the mathematician & astronomer Erhard Weigel (1625 – 1699). I have located only 1 copy outside of Germany (at the Adler Planetarium.)

Exceedingly rare, revised and expanded edition of a pamphlet on the comet of 1680 and 1681, known variously as the Great Comet, Kirch's comet (after its discoverer), or Newton's Comet.

The "Great Comet of 1680 (C/1680 V1) has the distinction of being the first comet discovered by telescope. The comet was discovered by Gottfried Kirch on 14 November 1680, new style, and became one of the brightest comets of the 17th century – reputedly visible even in daytime – and was noted for its spectacularly long tail. Aside from its brilliance, it is probably most noted for being used by Isaac Newton to test and verify Kepler‘s laws. John Flamsteed was the first to propose that the two bright comets of 1680/1681 were the same comet, one travelling inbound to the Sun and the other outbound, and Newton originally disputed this. Newton later changed his mind, however, and then, with Halley‘s help, purloined some of Flamsteed‘s data to indeed verify this was the case without giving Flamsteed credit.

Joachim Heinrich Hagen (1648-1693) was professor of mathematics at the Bayreuth Gymnasium and tutor to the sons of Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg- Bayreuth. He was created a member of the Pegnesischer Blumenorden, in which context he was known as "Filadon" and was crowned poet-laureate by Sigmund von Birken.

During his time in Jena, Hagen lived with the mathematician & astronomer Erhard Weigel. He wrote a poem published in Weigel’s "Tetractys" and became a member in Weigel’s Pythagoreische Gesellschaft (1672). Hagen died in 1693 just as he was about to be appointed professor of theology. (See John Flood, Poets Laureate in the Holy Roman Empire. p. 753 ff.)

VD17 12:161198H; Brüning 1410; Robinson no. 22; Reiss XXXXVI, 814. KVK: München, Erlangen, Coburg, Heidelberg, Göttingen, Leipzig, Halle; outside Germany exceedingly rare with only one copy at Adler Planetarium.