By William Sheehan
Astronomy is through a ways the most well-liked of the actual sciences, engaging sufficient to turn into a massive cultural preoccupation for lots of, and for a few a captivating medical task which usually principles their lives. what's the nature of that possible unstoppable appeal? during this energetic 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 impression on his personal existence, atmosphere the issues of embarkation for the adventure to come back. He travels around the old panorama looking the earliest origins of man's compulsion to watch the planets one of the hunter gatherers of the higher palaeolithic, and strains the evolving tale from the planetary documents of the earliest towns, to Pharonic Egypt via to Hellenistic Greek astronomy culminating in Ptolemy. the need to detect performed its half within the perceptual alterations wrought by way of the Copernican revolution, in addition to the observational advances completed via such outstanding 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 abilities, cosmologies and ambitions, factors and compulsions to aim to give an explanation for why we've saw, and proceed to monitor, the planets.
The compelling textual content of A ardour for the Planets is greater via the specifically 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 might be of curiosity to all novice astronomers; energetic planetary observers; armchair astronomers; these attracted to the heritage of astronomy; the cultural background of technology; and astronomical art.
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Extra info for A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope
42 A trick of the brain called flicker-fusion takes these static images and fuses them to make them appear to be a seamless continuum (which makes cinema possible). ” We are not able to isolate a momentary position within a moving series. 43 In the jargon of CCD (charge coupled device) imaging, the eye resembles a digital device with a capture rate of 5–15 images per second. That means that all sorts of things in motion are impossible for us to see correctly. Though horses and other quadrupeds must have been objects of the most intense scrutiny by humans since time immemorial, the detailed action of a horse’s trot was not worked out until the nineteenth century when Eadweard Muybridge used stop-action photography to settle a bet.
I suspect most of us are set apart even from childhood. I resonate – and I suspect most dyed-in-the-wool amateur astronomers would – with the words of Daniel Tammet, synaesthete-extraordinare, who is noted for setting a record in memorizing pi to the most decimal places (22,514). Tammet sums up his experiences in the nursery: When the time sometimes came to play social games, such as musical chairs, I refused to join in. I was frightened by the thought of the other children touching me as they shoved one another for one of the remaining seats.
43 In the jargon of CCD (charge coupled device) imaging, the eye resembles a digital device with a capture rate of 5–15 images per second. That means that all sorts of things in motion are impossible for us to see correctly. Though horses and other quadrupeds must have been objects of the most intense scrutiny by humans since time immemorial, the detailed action of a horse’s trot was not worked out until the nineteenth century when Eadweard Muybridge used stop-action photography to settle a bet.
A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope by William Sheehan