The physical astronomy of Levi ben Gerson

Perspectives on Science 5 (1):1-30 (1997)
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Levi ben Gerson was a medieval astronomer who responded in an unusual way to the Ptolemaic tradition. He significantly modified Ptolemy’s lunar and planetary theories, in part by appealing to physical reasoning. Moreover, he depended on his own observations, with instruments he invented, rather than on observations he found in literary sources. As a result of his close attention to the variation in apparent planetary sizes, a subject entirely absent from the Almagest, he discovered a new phenomenon of Mars and noticed a serious flaw in Ptolemy’s treatment of the Moon.


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