Early Astronomy in the University of Michigan Collections

Erasmus Reinhold

Erasmus Reinhold studied at the University of Wittenberg, where he was several times elected Dean. In 1536, Philip Melanchthon appointed him professor of astronomy (higher mathematics) whereas at the same time Georg Joaquin Rheticus was named professor of lower mathematics. Reinhold might have known about Copernicus’new ideas through the latter’s manuscript summary known as the Comentariolus. In 1542, Reinhold published a commentary on Peuerbach’s Theoricae novae planetarum, where he made a favorable reference to the theories that would later appear in De Revolutionibus.

Albert I Duke of Prussia sponsored the publication of Reinhold’s Prutenicae Tabulae or Prussian Tables in 1551. Although Reinhold’s tables were based on Copernicus’ planetary theories, they did not demand the acceptance of heliocentrism to be used.

Astronomical Tables

Select Bibliography

  • Gingerich, Owen. 1973. “The Role of Erasmus Reinhold and the Prutenic Tables in the Dissemination of Copernican Theory.” In Studia Copernicana 6: 43-62.
  • Gingerich, Owen. 2008. “Reinhold, Erasmus.” In Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 11 (digital edition). Detroit, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons: 365-367.

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