Once the Middle Ages were over, in which everything was much simpler than today, and where man believed that the Earth was the center of the universe (geocentric theory) and that the Moon, the Sun and a small range of planets surrounded her, all of them adorned by a kind of gigantic dome covered with stars, everything got ‘complicated’.
The scientific revolution arrives
It is not until the 16th century that we can establish the authentic scientific revolution of the Renaissance , with the heliocentric theory of the Polish astronomer and cleric Nicholas Copernicus (which, in turn, had been earlier suggested by the Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos in the 3rd century BC) in the one that was the Sun, and not the Earth, the one that was in the center of the universe. The Earth, like the rest of the planets, rotated once a day on its axis, completing one revolution around it every year. The universe seemed to be a gigantic place and we, a small rock in that huge collection of stars.
Beings from other planets?
It is precisely after this scientific revolution of the Renaissance that we find a book written in the 17th century by the Dutch astronomer, physicist, mathematician and inventor Christiaan Huygens (discoverer, among other things, of the Orion nebula), who explores his fascination with the possible existence of extraterrestrial beings. In this old volume, Huygens predicts extraterrestrial life on Saturn and Jupiter.
The book is titled: “The Celestial World Discover’d: Or, Conjectures Concerning the Inhabitants, Plants and Productions of the Worlds in the Planets” and has been discovered at a free antiquities appraisal event in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire , by book appraiser Jim Spencer.
Published in 1698, in its pages, Huygens, who shares his deep fascination with the possible existence of extraterrestrial beings, questions why God would have created other planets “just to be seen” from Earth. They must have had a purpose, according to the famous astronomer: to sustain life) .
How did you imagine aliens?
The expert tried to describe what the extraterrestrial beings would look like (with hands and feet), what they would do in their spare time, and even what their music would sound like (they would play musical instruments like us, according to Huygens). Apparently they would also be quite intellectual : Huygens envisioned them as astronomers and master navigators, “especially considering the great advantages Jupiter and Saturn have in navigating, having so many moons to direct their course”. (Many years later, we are still looking at the sky realizing that this is still a mystery).
“It is very reasonable to believe that there is some rational Creature on the other Planets, which is the Head and Sovereign of the rest,” he recounts in this volume, which was written in English and Latin. The version that will be auctioned, illustrated with five folding plates and printed for Timothy Childe at White Hart in the West-end of St Paul’s Church-yard, London (United Kingdom), will sell for thousands of euros, its discoverers venture. (Your starting price will be about 2,500 – 3,000 euros)-
As a curiosity, the author ruled out the possibility of animals much larger than those that currently exist on Earth. An interesting detail, which evokes that this issue was written before humans discovered the existence of dinosaurs.
“It is a curious sensation to leaf through this book. The subject belongs to the future or to science fiction , but the writer speaks to us from the past”, comments Spencer. “I realized that since then we have explored not only more space, but more of our own planet.”
The auction for this rare specimen will take place at Hansons Auctioneers Library on July 5 at Bishton Hall in Staffordshire, England.
Referencia: Hansons’ Auctioneers