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About Magavelda Press


Magavelda Press is basically a self-publishing imprint set up in 2001, in order to publish a single book about the Transit of Venus. This was a topic that, at the time, UK publishers didn’t seem interested in covering. In the event, the book, The Transit of Venus, the Quest to Find the True Distance of the Sun, sold very well, worldwide, and got excellent reviews. It also led to me being invited to co-write a French book on the same topic: Vénus devant le Soleil (2004, Vuibert, Paris – ed. Arkan Simaan).


So, self-publishing can be successful, but managing the distribution, sales, postage, etc, single-handedly is a lot of work. Nevertheless, sometimes the subject of a book is very much a niche topic, with little prospect of selling widely or gaining the interest of a trade publisher, and self-publishing is the only realistic route. This is the case with the most recent book under the Magavelda Press imprint: a work about the Victorian astronomer and educationalist, Charles Thomas Whitmell.


I think his story is fascinating, but I cannot imagine many people feeling the same way. We shall see.


David Sellers



Other books by David Sellers




Hidden Beneath Our Feet

The Story of Sewerage in Leeds

David Sellers


Format: Paperback

Size: 297 mm x 210 mm (A4)

Pages: 40

ISBN: 9780902384248

Published: December 1997

Publisher: Leeds City Council


About this book


This booklet was published to celebrate one-and-a-half centuries of municipal sewerage provision in Leeds. With the benefit of the rich archives of the Leeds Main Drainage Department and copious illustration, it describes the engineering and social issues that have been central to public health engineering in Leeds - from the Cholera epidemics of the 1830s up until the 1990s and Margaret Thatcher’s destructive removal of public ownership of the water industry.





Vénus devant le Soleil

(ed. Arkan Simaan) Jacques Blamont, Guillaume Cannat, Yves Delaye, Michel Laudon, Jean-Pierre Luminet, David Sellers, Steven M. van Roode


Format: Paperback

Size: 238 mm x 170 mm

Pages: 200

ISBN: 9782711753345

Published: June 2003

Publisher: Vuibert/Adapt


About this book


Understanding and observing an astronomical phenomenon. A collective of eight authors present chapters looking at: the history of transits of Venus, the associated mythology and poetry; modern exploration of the planet Venus; how to observe the coming transits; and suitable educational activities.




In Search of William Gascoigne

Seventeenth Century Astronomer

David Sellers


Format: Hardback

Size: 240 mm x 160 mm

Pages: 222

ISBN: 9781461440963

Published: 2012

Publisher: Springer (Astrophysics and Space Science Library)


About this book


William Gascoigne (c.1612-44), the first inventor of the telescopic sight and micrometer—instruments crucial to the advance of astronomy—was killed in the English Civil War. His name is now known to historians of science around the world, but for some considerable time after his tragic death at the age of 32, it seemed as if his achievements would be consigned to oblivion. Most of his papers were lost in the maelstrom of war and the few that seemed to have survived later disappeared. This is the story of how his work was rescued. Woven into that story is an account of the state of astronomy and optics during Gascoigne’s lifetime, so that the reader can appreciate the significance of his discoveries.


A substantial appendix presents selected extracts from Gascoigne's correspondence. This includes much new material that has not been previously published and illustrates his efforts to explain the basis of his pioneering techniques to the satisfaction of his contemporaries.





The Early History of Leeds Astronomical Society (1859-1918)

David Sellers


Format: Paperback

Size: 210 mm x 148 mm

Pages: 60


Published: 2019

Publisher: D. Sellers


About this book


Leeds Astronomical Society was first established in 1859. Its object was ‘the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge in connection with astronomical and meteorological science'. The fourteen year old originator of the society, William Trant, was able to gather around him not only notable figures in Leeds Society, but also a prestigious array of national patrons, including the Astronomer Royal and the President of the Royal Society. Despite this, the Society foundered within a few years.


The Society which was re-established on a surer footing in 1892 has endured until the present time. It has taken care to safeguard archives which contain material going back to the original Society of Trant. This modest booklet aims to make the story of the Society and some of the content of its records accessible to a wider circle of members, before the original material is handed over to a public Archive.




William Gascoigne, Leeds Astronomer

Or, How a Spider Placed Leeds at the Forefront of the Scientific Revolution

David Sellers


Format: Paperback

Size: 245 mm x 174 mm

Pages: 53

ISBN: 9781870737180

Published: 2019

Publisher: Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society


About this book


William Gascoigne (1612-44) of Middleton, Leeds, was the inventor of the telescopic sight and micrometer—instruments which became essential for the development of astronomy. He was slain at the age of 32 in the Battle of Marston Moor during the English Civil War. Although his name is now universally famous in the annals of science, for some considerable time after his tragic death, it seemed as if his achievements were destined to be forgotten. Most of his papers were lost in the turmoil of war and the few that briefly survived would later disappear. This is the story of how Gascoigne’s work was rediscovered and how it came to be central to the rise of modern precision astronomy and the progress of science … Oh, yes, and how it was all due to a serendipitous spider!



Email: sales@magavelda.co.uk

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