The role of astronomical instruments in Stanisław Lubieniecki’s correspondence with Johannes Hevelius and other scholars. Pretexts, praises, and complaints
27.09.2022 | 27.09.2022
Dr. Maciej Jasiński, L. & A. Birkenmajer Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Stanisław Lubieniecki, a 17th-century dilettante interested in comets and astronomy, published his astronomical correspondence in a voluminous book titled Theatrum cometicum (Amsterdam 1666–8). I summarise and analyse passages about astronomical instruments in Lubieniecki’s correspondence with Johannes Hevelius, an astronomer from Gdańsk, and other scholars. Astronomical devices were not the main point of Lubieniecki’s interest, but their subject recurs in his letters. In his correspondence with Hevelius, they are used chiefly for praises. Lubieniecki extols Hevelius’s inventory together with his experience and deeds in astronomy. For Hevelius, his instruments play an important role in creating his image of a solid and reliable astronomer. Other correspondents of Lubieniecki – located throughout Europe, among other places in Paris, Copenhagen, and Hamburg – often complain that they do not have proper instruments or conditions for astronomical observations. Their complaints, however, may seem exaggerated. It is conceivable that they did not lack entirely observational inventories, but they considered them insufficient.