Page:A short history of astronomy(1898).djvu/244

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[Ch. VII.
A Short History of Astronomy

expedition as soon as possible to capture them also, and with that object to provide Kepler with the "sinews of war" in order that he may equip a suitable army.

Although the money thus delicately asked for was only supplied very irregularly, Kepler kept steadily in view the expedition for which it was to be used, or, in plainer words, he worked steadily at the problem of extending his elliptic theory to the other planets, and constructing the tables of the planetary motions, based on Tycho's observations, at which he had so long been engaged.

143. In 1611 his patron Rudolph was forced to abdicate the imperial crown in favour of his brother Matthias, who had little interest in astronomy, or even in astrology; and as Kepler's position was thus rendered more insecure than ever, he opened negotiations with the Estates of Upper Austria, as the result of which he was promised a small salary, on condition of undertaking the somewhat varied duties of teaching mathematics at the high school of Linz, the capital, of constructing a new map of the province, and of completing his planetary tables. For the present, however, he decided to stay with Rudolph.

In the same year Kepler lost his wife, who had long been in weak bodily and mental health.

In the following year (1612) Rudolph died, and Kepler then moved to Linz and took up his new duties there, though still holding the appointment of mathematician to the Emperor and occasionally even receiving some portion of the salary of the office. In 1613 he married again, after a careful consideration, recorded in an extraordinary but very characteristic letter to one of his friends, of the relative merits of eleven ladies whom he regarded as possible; and the provision of a proper supply of wine for his new household led to the publication of a pamphlet, of some mathematical interest, dealing with the proper way of measuring the contents of a cask with curved sides.[1]

144. In the years 1618–1621, although in some ways the most disturbed years of his life, he published three books of importance—an Epitome of the Copernican Astronomy, the Harmony of the World,[2] and a treatise on Comets.

  1. It contains the germs of the method of infinitesimals.
  2. Harmonices Mundi Libri V.