Concerning the More Certain Fundamentals of Astrology by Johannes Kepler.pdf

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Johannes Kepler
cum prognosi physica anni ineuntis a nato Christo 1602
Ad philosophos scripta
Vim coeli reserate viri: venit agnita ad usus:
Ignotae videas commoda nulla rei.
Sit labor in damno: faciet victoria lucrum:
Naturae ingenio vim reserate viri.
Republished by Canopus Publications
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Retyped by Sue Toohey
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Thesis 1
It is generally considered the duty of mathematicians to write annual
Prognostics. Since, therefore, I have resolved to afford satisfaction for the
approaching year 1602 from the birth of Christ our Savior in limiting the
prognostics not so much to the curiosity of the public as to the duty of a
philosopher, I will begin rather with that which can be predicted most safely;
a rich crop of prognostics for this year is forthcoming, as the number of
authors is increasing daily, owing to the growing curiosity of the people.
Thesis 2
In those booklets some things will be said which time will prove, but many
things will be refuted by time and experience as vain and worthless; as is
customary with the people, the latter will be committed to the winds, and the
former, entirely to memory.
Thesis 3
For truly, as the cause, so is the effect. In their predictions the
astrologers, surrendering their pens to enthusiasm, carried away by it, admit
causes that are partly physical and partly political, and for the greater part
not sufficient, often imaginary, vain and false and partly, at least of no value
whatsoever. If they at times do tell the truth, it ought to be attributed to
luck, yet more frequently and commonly it is thought that this comes from
some higher and occult instinct.
Thesis 4
Some physical causes are recognized by all; others, by only very few
people; indeed, many things exist naturally, but from causes hitherto known
to no man. And of the causes, which we know, there are some whose kind
and nature we all usually understand, and others whose kind or indirect
cause are understood by very few people, or by nobody.
Thesis 5
The most general, effective and certain cause that is known to all men is
the approach and recess of the Sun. Now, the latter brings about the winter
solstice, i.e. on December 21 st , shortly before the sixth p.m.; and the summer
solstice on June 21 st at 10:30p.m In the first case then, there will be the cold
of winter, whereas (in the second case). the heat of summer. 1
Thesis 6
The nature of this cause can be seen from the following: At Prague,
Bohemia, the altitude of the pole is 50º 5' 45". But the inclination of the
ecliptic in this century is 23º 31' 30" as discovered by that Phoenix of the
astronomers, Tycho Brahe, whom we have recently lost. Thus, the Sun,
which is for us the originator of heat, does not shine for more than 7 hours
and 49 scruples (minutes) above the horizon in winter, and thus heats our air
for (only) a short time, and then lying (hidden) below the horizon doubly
longer and more (completely) it ceases to heat. Yet, on the other hand, in
the summer the sun remains for 16 whole hours and 22 scruples above the
horizon and continues to heat, ceasing from this action only for a period less
than half of that time.
Thesis 7
Yet air, as well as water and earth (as far as it is an element) except when
continuously heated, returns at once to its nature (natural disposition), and
grows cold. The (well-known statement) of Aristotle, that the nature of the
air is hot per se, is false indeed.
Thesis 8
Whatever participates in matter, insofar as it participates in it, is cold by
its nature. And whatever is hot by potency has this nature from an animal
force, either implanted or generated.
Thesis 9
Another and more important reason why the Sun, when it is high , heats
more than when it is low, is that when the Sun is low it strikes our horizon
obliquely and weakly, whereas when it is high, it (strikes our horizon) more
strongly at a right angle. No one has been able to explain to this day why
the immaterial solar ray behaves here in the same way as dense and material
bodies when impinging upon each other.
1 Words in brackets were inserted by the translator
Thesis 10
Therefore, as the Sun in summer passes almost four times higher than in
winter at Prague, it follows from this and the above stated reason that on the
shortest day there is not more than an eighth part of the amount of heat
which descends to the elements (of nature) on the longest summer day.
Thesis 11
But not even all of this eighth part of the heat that is left in winter acts to
our benefit. For the Sun, which rises but little above our horizon in winter, is
set more obliquely against our thick air. Let us assume, then, that the surface
of the vapid air, which refracts the solar ray, is at a perpendicular distance of
one German mile from us (it could hardly be higher, for in fact, the altitude of
the matter which produces the twilight, and of that which refracts the rays of
the stars is not the same). Accordingly, a thickness of one and a ninth
German miles is opposed to the solar ray in summer and three and a third
(German miles) in winter. Thus, the solar ray is three times weaker in winter
for this reason; and taking these three reasons together, in winter there
remains barely a twenty-fourth part of the Sun’s summer heat.
Thesis 12
Although these three causes are most evident on the very days of the
winter and summer solstice, the cold will not necessarily be greatest on the
former day nor the heat on the latter; there is in fact another cause, which of
itself makes the winter more intense in the beginning of February and the
summer in the beginning of August, or thereabouts. For earth and water and
dense bodies, and cannot be heated instantly; when they are heated about
the month of June, when the Sun is highest, they retain the deeply impressed
heat for some time, on account of the density of the matter and the
magnitude of the bodies; therefore, they combine the heat of June with the
heat of July and August. The same , conversely, with regard to the cold of
Thesis 13
The same opinion should be held as to the second hour , which is warmer
than the twelfth, despite the fact that the Sun is already on the decline. In
this case, the air shows the same behavior as the earth showed in the above
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