Studies of Pallas in the Early Nineteenth Century: Historical Studies in Asteroid Research

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Springer, Nov 14, 2016 - Science - 477 pages
Based on extensive primary sources, many never previously translated into English, this is the definitive account of the discovery of Pallas as it went from being classified as a new planet to reclassification as the second of a previously unknown group of celestial objects. Cunningham, a dedicated scholar of asteroids, includes a large set of newly translated correspondence as well as the many scientific papers about Pallas in addition to sections of Schroeter's 1805 book on the subject.

It was Olbers who discovered Pallas, in 1802, the second of many asteroids that would be officially identified as such. From the Gold Medal offered by the Paris Academy to solve the mystery of Pallas' gravitational perturbations to Gauss' Pallas Anagram, the asteroid remained a lingering mystery to leading thinkers of the time. Representing an intersection of science, mathematics, and philosophy, the puzzle of Pallas occupied the thoughts of an amazing panorama of intellectual giants in Europe in the early 1800s.
 

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Contents

1 A Disturbing Inclination
1
2 The Great Probability Debate
23
3 The Gold Medal
53
4 The Gauss Anagram
93
5 Hypothetical Planets
105
The Transition from 1745 to 1804
115
7 The Olbers Letters
149
8 The Gauss Letters
157
10 Herschels Asteroids
235
11 Scientific Papers
270
The Great Asteroid Treatises
411
Appendix A
449
Appendix B
467
References
470
Index
473
Copyright

9 The Harding Letters
215

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About the author (2016)

Clifford J. Cunningham did his Ph.D. work in the history of astronomy at James Cook University and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and he is affiliated with the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand. He has written or edited 13 books on the history of astronomy, and his papers have been published in many major journals, including Annals of Science, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Culture & Cosmos, Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia, The Asian Journal of Physics and The Milton Quarterly. Asteroid (4276) was named Clifford in his honor by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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