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Conclusion, and a note on the satellites of Uranus

Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 37)

Abstract

The case of Venus’ phantom satellite has traditionally been considered a mere curiosity in the annals of astronomy. A curiosity it may have been, but it was much more than that. As the present study demonstrates, the hypothesis — and it never was more than that — played a considerable role in the eighteenth century, primarily among astronomers but also in a wider context. As illustrated by figures such as Bonnet, Voltaire, d’Alembert, Kant, Herder, Martin and Frederick II of Prussia, the cultural world was acquainted with the phenomenon and found it to be of interest. At least on two occasions, enlightenment scientists (A. G. Kästner and L. A. Jungnitz) even wrote poems dedicated to the controversial satellite. From the beginning of the story, with Fontana’s observations in 1645, to the late nineteenth century, there was a rich literature on this non-existing object, and it was much richer than has traditionally been thought. Admittedly, much of this literature was repetitious, but it nonetheless indicates an interest in, and to some extent a fascination with, the satellite of Venus.

Keywords

Celestial Body Interior Planet Faint Star Pulkovo Observatory Astronomical Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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© Birkhäuser Verlag AG 2008

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