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Johann Hevelius, Cometographia (Gdansk, 1668)

On Comets

The frontispiece shows three views of the paths of comets: 

  1. The Aristotelian theory that comets consist of vapors beneath the Moon (left); 
  2. Kepler’s theory that comets move in straight lines (right); and 
  3. Hevelius’ view that they originate in the outer regions and descend in a parabolic trajectory passing by the Sun (center).

From his observation of the comets of 1652, 1661, 1672, 1677 and 1680, Hevelius concluded that comets pass by the Sun in a parabolic path.

Galileo's World Exhibition Location

Source: History of Science Collections

Section: Comets

Section Number: 2

Object Number: 23

Subject Area(s): Astronomy, Philosophy, Meteorology

Time Period: 17th Century

Region(s): Europe, Poland

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