Prutenic tablets

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The Prussian or Prutenischen tables of celestial motions ( Prutenicae Tabulae Coelestium motuum ) are astronomical tables for calculating the locations of the sun, moon and the planets. The Prutenic tables replaced the previously used Alfonsine tables , whose predicted data increasingly deviated from reality. For example, events such as conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, to which astrology ascribed great importance, were predicted with an error of up to a month, in the Prutenic Tables only a few days.

They were made by Erasmus Reinhold in 1551 . He also made reference to the work of Nicolaus Copernicus while identifying and describing a large number of stars . The higher accuracy of the Prutenic Tables is not due to the Copernican system used, but primarily to the currency of the original data used.

Duke Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach supported Reinhold and financed the printing of the Prutenische Tafeln, although there were unsavory arguments about the payment. Reinhold and his Prutenic Tables contributed to the fact that the Copernican system became known everywhere in the German-speaking Empire and beyond, as did Königsberg by being chosen as the prime meridian .

The findings of Copernicus and the Prussian tables later formed the basis for the calendar reform of 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII.

The tables were first published by Ulrich Morhard in Tübingen in 1551, and Morhard's widow also distributed a reprint of the first edition in 1562. The editor of the second edition (Tübingen, 1571) was Michael Mästlin (1550–1631), who later became Kepler's teacher. He added an afterword and two pages of corrections. The third edition (Wittenberg, Matthäus Welack, 1585) comes from Caspar Strubius , Rector of the University of Wittenberg.

The Rudolfinian tablets by Brahe and Kepler replaced the Prussian tablets in the 17th century.

Owen Gingerich examined the influence of Reinhard and his tables on the spread of Copernican teachings.


  • A. von Braunmühl : Lectures on the history of trigonometry . First part: From the oldest times to the invention of the logarithms . Teubner, Leipzig 1900, (also reprographic reprint: Sendet Reprint Verlag, Vaduz 1990, ISBN 3-500-23250-7 ).
  • JLE Dreyer : A history of astronomy from Thales to Kepler . 2nd edition. Revised with a foreword by WH Stahl. Dover, New York NY 1953 (Previously: History of the planetary systems from Thales to Kepler . University Press, Cambridge 1906).
  • Owen Gingerich : The Great Copernicus Chase and other Adventures in astronomical History . Sky Publishing et al. a., Cambridge MA 1992, ISBN 0-521-32688-5 .
  • Owen Gingerich: Erasmus Reinhold and the dissemination of Copernicus theory . In: Owen Gingerich: The Eye of Heaven. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler . The American Institute of Physics, New York NY 1993, ISBN 0-88318-863-5 , pp. 221-251, (reprinted from: Studia Copernicana 6, 1973, ISSN  0081-6701 , pp. 43-62; 123-125 ).
  • Owen Gingerich: Maestlin's, Kepler's and Schickard's copies of “De revolutionibus” . In: Friedrich Seck (Ed.): On the 400th birthday of Wilhelm Schickard . Second Tübingen Schickard Symposium 25. – 27. June 1992. Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1995, ISBN 3-7995-3235-8 , ( Contubernium 41), pp. 167-183.
  • RA Jarrell: The life and scientific work of the Tübingen astronomer Michael Maestlin. 1550-1631 . University of Toronto, 1971, (PhD Thesis).
  • JC Poggendorff : Biographical-literary concise dictionary for the history of the exact sciences. Contains evidence of living conditions and achievements of mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, chemists, mineralogists, geologists, etc. of all peoples and times . Volume 2: M-Z . Barth, Leipzig 1863, (also various reprints).
  • Hans-Joachim Seidel, Christian host: Wittenberg humanism in the circle of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchton. The mathematician Erasmus Reinhold d. Ä. In: Biblos 46, 1997, 1, ISSN  0006-2022 , pp. 19-51.
  • Ernst Zinner : Origin and Spread of the Copernican Teaching . 2nd edition, reviewed and supplemented by Heribert M. Nobis and Felix Schmeidler. Beck, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-32049-X .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. John Freely: Copernicus Revolutionary of Heaven . Velcro-Cotta, 2015.
  2. Erasmus Reinhold (1511-1553) ( Memento from September 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive )