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Ptolemy, Bianchini, and Copernicus: Tables for Planetary Latitudes

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Chapter Summary

The study of planetary theory in Ptolemaic astronomy has concentrated on the models and tables for planetary longitudes, and considerably less attention has been paid to Ptolemy's models and tables for planetary latitudes. This chapter focuses on some special features of tables for planetary latitude, particularly those of Giovanni Bianchini that are extant in many manuscript copies, in a printed edition of 1526, and in a copy in the hand of Copernicus. In Almagest xiii Ptolemy gives a full treatment of planetary latitudes and, in the case of the inferior planets, he refers to three components. The chapter gives a brief survey of the history of tables for planetary latitude, particularly those that include, for Venus and Mercury, columns for the deviation. It describes Bianchini's tables for planetary latitude in detail, and discusses Copernicus's copy of Bianchini's tables for planetary latitude.

Keywords: Almagest; Giovanni Bianchini; planetary theory; Ptolemaic astronomy



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