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John Williams, Observations of Comets from B.C. 611 to A.D. 1640, Extracted from the Chinese Annals (London, 1871)

A Chinese celestial atlas with chronological tables, reproduced in Williams’ own hand, appear in this record of 372 comet sightings from 611 B.C.E. to 1640 C.E. Williams undertook to compile and translate them from Chinese historical annals after an astronomer sought his help calculating the orbit of a comet observed in 1366.

Galileo's World Exhibition Location

Source: History of Science Collections

Section: Science in Asia

Section Number: 2

Object Number: 14

Subject Area(s): Astronomy, History

Time Period: 17th Century

Region(s): Europe, Asia, China, London

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Exhibit Gallery OERs

Orion: Baba, Nobutake (1706)

Orion China Learning Leaflet

This work, written by a Kyoto physician, represents Asian astronomy in the generation following Adam Schall. Baba countered superstitious interpretations of solar eclipses, and used magnetic theory rather than yin and yang to explain the tides. Baba adopted the Tychonic model of cosmology. His book exemplifies the circulation of knowledge in East Asia and the interplay between Asian and European ideas.


Johann Schreck: Galileo's Friend in China

Johann Schreck Learning Leaflet

How did knowledge spread in Galileo’s world? 

Johann Schreck joined the Jesuit order in 1611, the same year that he used Galileo's telescope to observe the satellites of Jupiter. Upon becoming a Jesuit, Schreck joined the Jesuit mission in China, taking with him a scientific library of approximately 7,000 volumes as well as a Galilean telescope. Schreck's story is the beginning of a century-long exchange of scientific ideas between Europe and Asia.