By William Sheehan
Astronomy is by means of a ways the most well-liked of the actual sciences, engaging sufficient to develop into an incredible cultural preoccupation for lots of, and for a few a captivating clinical task which assuredly ideas their lives. what's the nature of that likely unstoppable charm? during this full of life and compelling account, William Sheehan – specialist psychiatrist, famous historian of astronomy, and incurable observer - explores the character of that attract throughout the tale of man's visible exploration of the planets.
In this quantity, the 1st of a trilogy, Sheehan starts off with observational astronomy’s profound and lasting impact on his personal lifestyles, environment the issues of embarkation for the adventure to return. He travels around the ancient panorama looking the earliest origins of man's compulsion to watch the planets one of the hunter gatherers of the higher palaeolithic, and lines the evolving tale from the planetary files of the earliest towns, to Pharonic Egypt via to Hellenistic Greek astronomy culminating in Ptolemy. the need to discover performed its half within the perceptual adjustments wrought by means of the Copernican revolution, in addition to the observational advances accomplished by means of such impressive characters as Tycho together with his sharpest of eyes, and his sumptuous perform of overall astronomy. the 2 epochal advances released in 1609, either born via planetary remark, particularly Kepler's discovery of the genuine nature of the orbit of Mars and Harriot and Galileo’s observations of the Moon, have a pivotal position during this account.
Sheehan weaves a wealthy tapestry of social and technological settings, patronage and personalities, gear and talents, cosmologies and targets, causes and compulsions to aim to provide an explanation for why we've saw, and proceed to watch, the planets.
The compelling textual content of A ardour for the Planets is better by means of the in particular commissioned planetary paintings of Julian Baum, himself son of a famous planetary observer and historian of planetary observers, and Randall Rosenfeld.
A ardour for the Planets can be of curiosity to all novice astronomers; energetic planetary observers; armchair astronomers; these drawn to the heritage of astronomy; the cultural heritage of technology; and astronomical art.
Read or Download A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope PDF
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Additional info for A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope
Instrument-making, alas, has never been my forte, and yet after 1982 – when I once more committed myself to serious observing – I had no choice but to concern myself with equipment and technique. Though I aspired to Maslovian “peak” experiences, sometimes literally, and have come to realize that I am a panoramic Big-Picture sort of person, I had to be satisfied that all my gear was in order. Observing is in that way like serious mountainclimbing – it is exhilarating, the rewards are great and, though not physically as hazardous, the pitfalls are many.
I read about Copernicus – Tycho – Kepler – Galileo. There was even a real astronomer in the neighborhood – Strathmore R. B. Cooke, a native New Zealander who taught geology at the University of Minnesota and was an accomplished observer of the Moon with a 12½-in. reflector which he housed in a shed in his backyard. He lived about 2 miles from me, and I often rode my bike to his house and regarded his observatory, from the alley, with envious eyes. I always hoped he might venture out, perhaps to empty the trash, when I was there, so I could introduce myself to him; but he never made an appearance, and I was too shy to knock at the door.
27 28 2 By Passion Driven astronomical deities I worshipped as a youngster (which is to say I took them as role models, aspired to be like them). He was, apparently, absent-minded in a degree that threw even Isaac Newton into the shade. As his niece Else Schiaparelli, the famous fashion designer, recalled in her autobiography: He was appallingly absent-minded. After his marriage he took his young bride to Vienna. On the evening of their arrival he exclaimed: “Excuse me, I must go and see an astronomer who lives in this town.
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