Definitions

rudolphine

Rudolphine Tables

The Rudolphine Tables (Latin: Tabulae Rudolphinae) consist of a star catalog and planetary tables published by Johannes Kepler in 1627. Named after Emperor Rudolf II, they contain positions for the 1,006 stars measured by Tycho Brahe, and 400 and more stars from Ptolemy and Johann Bayer, with directions and tables for locating the planets of the solar system.

The new tables supersede the older Prussian Tables (Erasmus Reinhold, 1551) and Alphonsine tables (13th century). The purpose of the Rudolphine Tables is essentially to provide an accurate tool for erecting horoscopes, including many function tables of logarithms and antilogarithms, and instructive examples for computing planetary positions.

The tables based observations by Tycho Brahe are accurate mostly up to one arc minute, and were the first to include corrective factors for atmospheric refraction.

Publication

When publishing the Rudolphine Tables, Kepler was hard-pressed to fight off Tycho's numerous relatives. These relatives throughout the entire publication process were constantly trying to win control of the observations for the profit of them, with the case that Tycho's work should benefit his own family, and not one of Tycho's own competitors. Kepler considered this very unfair, because he and Tycho had been collaborating to work together on the data for many years before Tycho's death, and was responsible for much of the calculations and organization of the data. Nevertheless, Kepler did win control of the tables and published them himself while the Brahe family got none of it.

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