Nicolas Louis de la Caille was an important French mathematician and astronomer. His desire to observe the southern heavens led him to propose, in 1750, an astronomical expedition to the Cape of Good Hope. This was officially sanctioned by Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière. Among its results were determinations of the lunar and of the solar parallax (Mars serving as an intermediary), and the first measurement of a South African arc of the meridian, which suggested that the earth was more flattened at the southern pole. He also describes the countryside and inhabitants at the Cape during his stay. His observations on the voyage demonstrated the difficulties of navigation to him and led him to devise a better method of using the moon to determine time and latitude at sea.
It was said of him that, during a comparatively short life, he had made more observations and calculations than all the astronomers of his time put together. The quality of his work was unrivalled, while the rectitude of his character earned him universal respect.
380 pp with folding map; three text illustrations. In somewhat edgeworn full calf binding with liberally decorated spine, which is slightly damaged at the top. Marbled endpapers and marbled edge of textblock. Bookplate and ownership on endpapers, as well as the inked in date of '30 juillet 1776' on the last page.
Generally very good condition of an uncommon title in an early edition.
- Binding Condition: Good - very good
- Overall Condition: Very good
- Size: 170 x 100 mm
- Sold By: Africana Books
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- Country: South Africa
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