Levi ben Gerson (1288–1344) 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 theAlmagest, he discovered a new phenomenon of Mars and noticed a serious flaw in Ptolemy’s treatment of the Moon.

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