By William Sheehan

ISBN-10: 144195970X

ISBN-13: 9781441959706

Astronomy is via a long way the most well-liked of the actual sciences, attractive adequate to turn into a tremendous cultural preoccupation for lots of, and for a few a charming medical task which usually principles their lives. what's the nature of that doubtless unstoppable allure? during this energetic and compelling account, William Sheehan – specialist 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 impact on his personal lifestyles, environment the issues of embarkation for the adventure to return. He travels around the historic panorama looking the earliest origins of man's compulsion to monitor the planets one of the hunter gatherers of the higher palaeolithic, and lines 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 realize performed its half within the perceptual alterations wrought through the Copernican revolution, in addition to the observational advances completed by means of 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, apparatus and talents, cosmologies and objectives, factors and compulsions to aim to provide an explanation for why we have now saw, and proceed to monitor, the planets.

The compelling textual content of A ardour for the Planets is more desirable through the in particular commissioned planetary art of Julian Baum, himself son of a famous planetary observer and historian of planetary observers, and Randall Rosenfeld.

A ardour for the Planets could be of curiosity to all novice astronomers; lively planetary observers; armchair astronomers; these drawn to the heritage of astronomy; the cultural background 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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22 While I was out looking at it, I also turned my 2¼-in. refractor at Jupiter, and had the first view of the planet in the brightening sky of the planet’s belts – they appeared lovely reddish or coppery-hued against the yellow zones of that planet’s gaseous globe. , the first real astronomer I had contact with. I shall always be much in his debt. I was then captivated with the idea of searching for other worlds – to search is to hunt; there’s the familiar some of the wonders of the heavens. Of course it is the duty of all of us to encourage a laudable interest in the science….

I am someone with unusual interests – a social misfit and a loner. I do not doubt that I was regarded as an eccentric by most of my more conformist and ordinary companions in those days – and if so, what they supposed was no more than the truth. Though the whole experience was not without its painful aspects, I tried to regard the difference as a badge of honor and, where once I had hoped to be a figure of action like the baseball players and football players I admired in earlier years, by the age of 10 or 11 I had found my true self, and preferred men of thought over men of action.

As I am nowhere more at home than under John Ruskin’s Open Sky, in my professional career I have always opted to work far from the Cities – out in the wide spaces – ruralized to obscure places in western Minnesota, North Dakota, New Zealand. I have worked in places where I enjoyed dramatic vistas of the skies, where I could explore new frontiers with my telescopes. For the past more than 30 years I have continued to observe. There was a hiatus of a few years between high school and the end of college.

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A Passion for the Planets: Envisioning Other Worlds, From the Pleistocene to the Age of the Telescope by William Sheehan


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