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Comets of the 17th century

L. Tom Perry Special Collections contains a variety of comet pamphlets by European astronomers of the 16th and 17th centuries. If you enjoyed (or missed) comet NEOWISE this summer, we’d like to share some delightful woodcut illustrations from recent acquisitions to this collection.

This engraving, from Erhard Weigel’s Speculum Uranicum aquilae Romanae sacrum (1661), depicts the comet of 1661 passing over the University of Jena. This comet has been identified with Comet Ikeya-Zhang, which was observed in 2002.

This unsophisticated little woodcut appears on the title page of Friedrich Müller’s Cometologiæ, which describes the comet of 1664-1665, which was widely observed across western Europe. Müller was a professor at the university in the city of Giessen.


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