Riccioli, Giovanni Battista (1598–1671)
Italian astronomer best known for his Almagestum novum (New Almagest),
published in 1651, in which he tries to remedy many defects of traditional
astronomy while, at the same time, rejecting the new ideas of the Copernican
system. His two-volume work includes a lunar atlas in which major craters
are named after supporters of the Ptolemaic
system, including Hipparchus, Brahe, and Ptolemy himself, and smaller
craters after the revolutionaries, Copernicus and Aristarchus. The only
contemporary map of the Moon of comparable quality was created by Johannes
Hevelius, with whom Riccioli profoundly
disagreed over the question of lunar water and life. Above his map, Riccioli
declared, "No Man Dwell on the Moon."
|Detail from the frontispiece of Riccioli's
Almagestum novum (Bologna, 1651)
Riccioli was the first to observe (1650) a double star (two stars so close
together that they appear to be one) – Mizar
in Ursa Major, the middle star in the handle of the Big Dipper (or Plough).
He also discovered satellite shadows on Jupiter.
life on the Moon
water on the Moon