Lot 44
  • 44

Galilei, Galileo

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Sidereus nuncius magna, longeque admirabilia spectacula pandens. Venice: Tommaso Baglioni, (March) 1610

4to (8 15/16 x 6 5/8 in.; 227 x 170 mm). Printer's woodcut devise, numerous woodcut diagrams, including 3 large woodcut star maps, Issue without the 5 text engravings but these supplied in facsimile printed directly on the original leaves, lacking cancel slip on B1v, bound before Orazion funerale per la morte del sereniss. Ferdinando II. (Florence, 1671); washed, some light staining. Recased into a contemporary gilt-panelled red morocco binding, red edges; some rubbing. 


Cinti 26; Dibner, Heralds 7; Grolier/Horblit 35; Norman 855; Printing and the Mind of Man 113

Catalogue Note

First edition, first issue of the first description of the scientific use of the telescope. Using the newly invented instrument of the telescope (which he called a "perspicillum"), Galileo made nine major astronomical discoveries, here described for the first time. Among the observations published in Sidereus nuncius, Galileo includes the irregular surface of the moon, created by its mountains and valleys; the innumerable stars of the Milky Way; and the four satellites of Jupiter, which he names the "Medicea Sidera" in honor of the dedicatee, Cosimo II de Medici.

Galileo rushed this work through the press and the first issue, intended for presentation, was issued without the text engravings or cancel slip. Only a very few copies of this first issue survive. At some point the lacking lunar engravings were supplied in facsimile, resulting, in the words of Owen Gingerich, in this "extraordinary hybrid copy. …" An intriguing copy of the book that established Galileo's reputation as the founder of modern astronomy.