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Commonplace book, 1679 - 1703

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 1/41

Scope and Contents

An untitled compilation of notes and other papers on a range of subjects, 192 folios. The earlier part of the book is in Flamsteed's hand, but the hands of assistants and unidentified pupils appear with increasing frequency thereafter. There is a two-part contents page by Flamsteed.

The volume includes various observations: of solar altitude, made in New England [by Thomas Brattle] (21rv); of an occultation and lunar eclipse by Johann Hevelius, 1681-1682 (22r, 28v-30v); of comets, 1680-1681, seen by Brattle in New England, and by Henry Greenhill in South Africa (22v-23r, 26v-28r); of comets, 1682-1683, seen at Nuremberg by G.J. Eimmart, and in South Africa (49r-50v, 62rv); and of Jupiter's satellites, including those obtained by Edmond Halley from J.D. Cassini (25rv, 42r).

There are also extracts from the journals of voyages: Captain William Alleys, 1665-1681, Francis Nelly, and Captain Wood, 1670 (32v-41v); Captain William Minors, 1641-1644 (55v-61r); Captain Charles Swan, 1683-1684 (103v-104r); Lieutenant [Edward] Harrison, including his voyage with Halley, 1698-1699 and 1688 (125v-127v); and Deliverance Cotterell, 1684-1686 (126v-127r).

The remaining material comprises 'Acta Astronomica Grenovisano 1679' (3r-7r); work on ballistics (7r-10r, 12v-14v, 24rv, 89r, 105v-106r), with a paper by Sigismond Albergetty, c. 1700 (113v-117v); mathematical notes, especially from correspondence with John Caswell, passim; a table of times of Mars's opposition to the Sun (12r); work on atmospheric refraction, including 'Monsieur Picarts table ... imparted by Monsieur Auzout', 1682 (15v, 31r, 53v-55r); work on tides (43v-44r, 94rv, 129v-130v); comparisons of weights and measures (51r, 83r-85v); observations of an occultation by Gottfried Scultz, 1682 (53r); notes on the ancient obliquity of the ecliptic (63r-64v); a copy of 'Lord Keeper North's paper' on the effects of gravity, 1684 (66v-71v); lists of Ordnance stores, 1685 and 1695 (72v and inside the front cover); observations from the Jesuits' 'voyage de Syam' (73rv); collected notes on longitudes and latitudes (74r-78r, 86r, 131r-132v); an account of experiments to find the speed of sound, 1687 (78v-79r); collected lunar eclipse observations, 1674-1679, including those by Lawrence Rooke, 1653-1657 (108v, 169r); biographical 'Notes from my old Almanacks', 1671-1676 (109r); a 'Tractatulum' on planetary diameters, with appendices on Saturn's ring and Jupiter's satellites (118v-123v); a copy of a letter from Lowthorp on transmitting light through a vacuum, 1699 (124v-125r); a French treatise on magnetic variation (128rv); a copy of an extract of a letter from Abraham Sharp, 1703, with an enclosure on the aurora borealis (141v-142r); a draft of 'A Restitution and Rectification of the Earths Motion and places of the fixed stars', 1685 (159v-167v); stellar tables, with notes and rough calculations (169v-190v); and the dates and times of birth of Halley, Hevelius, Nicholas Cook and Richard Mageiras (192r).


  • 1679 - 1703

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Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 volume(s) (1 volume)

Language of Materials



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