SCHIAPARELLI'S FIRST MAJOR WORK ON MARS, WITH FIVE PLATES
SCHIAPARELLI, Giovanni Virginio. "Ossernazioni Astronomiche e Fisiche Sull'asse di Rotazione e Sulla Topografia del Pianeta Marte." IN: Atti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei, Series 3, Volume 2: 308-439. Rome, 1878. Thick quarto, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco. $3200.
First appearance of Schiaparelli's first major work on the planet Mars, with five plates (one folding) of diagrams and illustrations, including a large folding map and a chromolithographic map of the surface of Mars.
Schiaparelli's work had tremendous impact on the scientific understanding of Mars. "In 1877, using a Merz refractor far superior to the antiquated instruments he had previously used, Schiaparelli turned his attention to the study of Mars… During the great opposition of Mars in 1877 Schiaparelli observed the planet thoroughly, detecting even the smallest surface features… In drawing a complete picture of the areographic positions of the fundamental points for construction of an accurate map, Schiaparelli stated that the interpretation of the phenomena observed on Mars was still largely hypothetical… he was the first to classify the features as 'seas' and 'continents'… Although he understood that the features he observed on Mars were stable, like their terrestrial counterparts, he was cautious, in drawing conclusions on the nature of the surface and atmosphere until he could establish that the seas, continents, and canals were identifiable with analogous terrestrial formations" (DSB, Vol. 12, p. 161). The illustrations include a double-page areographic map, a map of the southern hemisphere, and a color plate showing four views of the planet. Stamps of the Chemical Society on title page and spine.
Plates and text fine, light wear to extremities of contemporary morocco. An excellent copy.