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Nova & Accuratismia Totius Terrarum Tabula Nautica Variationum Magneticarum Index Juxta Obserations Anno 1706 habitas Constructa per Edm. Halley.
Selling price: $7400
Second edition with wind directions added.
The eastern coast of Australia is not outlined as well as Polynesia.
The first world map to show isogonals, or lines showing equal magnetic variation in the oceans, a feature considered of paramount importance for the determination of longitude. Edmund Halley (1656-1742), second Astronomer Royal, referred to as the greatest of European astronomers, and next to Newton among the finest scientific Englishmen of his time, is best remembered for the comet that bears his name.
By the age of twenty, in 1676, his fame as a student of celestial phenomena was already so great that he was sent to the island of St. Helena to make the first scientific determinations of the positions of the stars in the Southern Hemisphere. Upon his return to England in 1678, Halley was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1686, at his own expense, he published Newton's Principia, in which the Law of Gravity was first set forth. In 1703, Halley was appointed Professor of Geometry at Oxford and, in 1721, he was made Astronomer Royal at Greenwich, succeeding Flamsteed.
In 1698, in the hope that Halley might be able to solve the longitude problem, he was made a Captain of the Royal Navy and was sent to sea aboard the Paramour at the command of William III. His primary mission was to chart the variation of the Earth's magnetic field in the Western and Eastern hemispheres. He returned in 1700 and this map is the product of his measurements.
The lines on the chart, called isogonals, depict the declinations of the compass. This is the first map on which they appear. As Rodney Shirley notes, thus the isoline, or line of equal [magnetic] value was invented. For more than a century Halley's magnetic lines were a familiar feature of the world chart. As it turns out, however, the variations fluctuate with time and cannot be used to find longitude at sea. A complete set of 3 joined sheet, with to the left the third sheet who repeats the information in Asia and Oceana with a text block cartouche. Nice old color example.
An attractive example of this rare and highly sought after map.
Reference: Cumming, The Exploration of North America, pp. 22-23.
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