Investigating the Origin of the Asteroids and Early Findings on Vesta

Historical Studies in Asteroid Research

Authors: Cunningham, Clifford J.

  • Covers the discovery and early study of Vesta, the first main-belt asteroid ever orbited by a spacecraft 
    Includes hundreds of original nineteenth century documents and sources, many of them translated for the first time from Latin, German and other languages
    Depicts the people who wrote about Vesta and includes dramatic illustrations of the solar system 

Buy this book

eBook $139.00
price for USA (gross)
valid through November 5, 2017
  • ISBN 978-3-319-58118-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $179.00
price for USA
valid through November 5, 2017
  • ISBN 978-3-319-58117-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book assesses the origin of asteroids by analyzing the discovery of Vesta in 1807. Wilhelm Olbers, who discovered Vesta, suggested that the asteroids were the result of a primordial planet’s explosion. Cunningham studies that idea in detail through the writings of Sir David Brewster in Scotland, the era's most prolific writer about the asteroids. He also examines the link between meteorites and asteroids, revealing a synergy between Ernst Chladni, Romantic symbolism, and the music of the spheres.

Vesta was a lightning rod for controversy throughout the nineteenth century with observers arguing over its size and color, and the astounding notion that it was self-luminous. It was also a major force for change, as new methods in the field of celestial mechanics were developed to study the orbital perturbations it is subject to. A large selection of private correspondence and scientific papers complete the first comprehensive historical study of Vesta ever published.

With a synoptic look at the four asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta, Cunningham provides a valuable resource on asteroid origins and explains how they were integrated into the newly revealed solar system of the early nineteenth century.  

About the authors

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. 

Table of contents (13 chapters)

  • Olbers’ Hypothesis: The Origin of the Asteroids

    Cunningham, Clifford J.

    Pages 1-50

  • Regnér’s Attacks on Olbers’ Hypothesis

    Cunningham, Clifford J.

    Pages 51-66

  • Brewster’s Support for Olbers’ Hypothesis

    Cunningham, Clifford J.

    Pages 67-86

  • The Discovery of Vesta

    Cunningham, Clifford J.

    Pages 87-117

  • Vesta: A Self-Luminous Asteroid?

    Cunningham, Clifford J.

    Pages 119-128

Buy this book

eBook $139.00
price for USA (gross)
valid through November 5, 2017
  • ISBN 978-3-319-58118-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $179.00
price for USA
valid through November 5, 2017
  • ISBN 978-3-319-58117-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Investigating the Origin of the Asteroids and Early Findings on Vesta
Book Subtitle
Historical Studies in Asteroid Research
Authors
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-58118-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-58118-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-58117-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 399
Number of Illustrations and Tables
176 b/w illustrations, 35 illustrations in colour
Topics