Download A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From by William Sheehan PDF

By William Sheehan

Astronomy is by means of a ways the preferred of the actual sciences, engaging adequate to develop into a tremendous cultural preoccupation for lots of, and for a few a charming clinical task which usually principles their lives. what's the nature of that doubtless unstoppable charm? during this energetic and compelling account, William Sheehan – expert psychiatrist, famous historian of astronomy, and incurable observer - explores the character of that attract during 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 influence on his personal existence, atmosphere the issues of embarkation for the adventure to return. 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 files of the earliest towns, to Pharonic Egypt via to Hellenistic Greek astronomy culminating in Ptolemy. the need to realize performed its half within the perceptual alterations wrought through the Copernican revolution, in addition to the observational advances accomplished via such striking characters as Tycho along with his sharpest of eyes, and his sumptuous perform of overall astronomy. the 2 epochal advances released in 1609, either born via planetary commentary, specifically Kepler's discovery of the real 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, apparatus and abilities, cosmologies and objectives, explanations and compulsions to attempt to give an explanation for why we've got saw, and proceed to watch, the planets.

The compelling textual content of A ardour for the Planets is better by means of 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 can be of curiosity to all novice astronomers; lively planetary observers; armchair astronomers; these attracted to the historical past of astronomy; the cultural historical past of technology; and astronomical art.

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Additional resources for A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope

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29 Elsa Schiaparelli, Shocking Life. P. Dutton, 1954, p. 25. Daniel Tammet, who in Born on a Blue Day: a memoir. New York: Free Press, 2006, p. 27. 28 29 2 By Passion Driven 29 Tammet’s room, Burnham’s cabin with its antiquities, the Cavorite sphere, an astronomical observatory – all of these are variations on a common theme. From an early age I wanted to have my own private place where I could retreat – safely – from human contact and enjoy something more objective and real than the world of social relations or merely human things.

William Sheehan collection Richard Baum to William Sheehan; personal correspondence, November 24, 1989. 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.

My first telescopes had been stolen from my parents’ garage shortly after the Great Dust Storm on Mars of 1971, when I was still in high school; being of limited means, it was several years before I could afford a replacement instrument. 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.

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