The Sun's halo, Milky Way, a rainbow and a comet, 1535.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured woodcut taken from the 'Origin of Things' section of the 'Margarita Philosophica' ('The Philosophical Pearl'), edited by Gregor Reisch (1467?-1525). First printed in 1503, this book was once considered the 'tree of all knowledge'. Divided into twelve 'books', it covers the topics of mathematics, cosmography, music, natural history, minerals, astronomy and medicine. Its illustrations, which are of great scientific and historical interest, are some of the earliest known of the various subjects.