SCHEME OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
A Scheme of the Solar System with the orbits of the planets and comets...
27” x 23-3/4”. Some tears repaired and folds reinforced. Small section missing at the upper left with some loss of text and neat line. Otherwise, a fine copy of a chart usually found in poor condition.
First issued in 1712, this edition of William Whiston’s Scheme of the Solar System was published in John Senex’s New General Atlas. The densely engraved chart shows the orbits of the known comets in the context of Newtonian astronomy. Whiston was a follower of the famous astronomer and gave public lectures on Newton; this chart was printed to accompany these lectures. Surrounding the diagram and engraved at the corners is a descriptive text about the Solar System. There is also considerable data about the comets. Whiston was one of the first to realize the significance of Edmund Halley’s discoveries about the comet that bears his name. Halley had observed the comet in 1682 and predicted its return in 1758. It is the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime. This chart delineates each known comet and includes data engraved along their tracks through the solar system.
See: Colin Ronan, Edmund Halley, pp. 150-51. See also Mordechai Feingold, The Newton Moment, which includes an example of an earlier printing of this chart.
Inventory No. 8384