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Star Map History for Today’s Amateur Astronomer - Livestream

Book Cover

The history of star maps evolved into several pathways that have relevance for today’s amateur astronomer. Ancient views of the sky had mapping traditions that used both a geocentric orientation (where the stars and constellations were pictured as they were seen from the Earth) and an external orientation (where they were right to left reversed as seen from the outside of a celestial globe carved in marble). The development of the telescope favored a geocentric view, as well as a switch in the celestial grid from a longitude/latitude perspective to one that spoke about right ascension/declination. Many ancient books included volvelles, which were analog computers on paper that attempted to reproduce some of the features of 3-dimensional astrolabes on 2-dimensional pages in a book. These led to our modern planispheres. Early atlases pictured beautiful constellations using mythological and scientific themes that gradually grew to over 100 figures, but these were reduced in number by an international society to 88 constellation areas of the sky, and the images gradually disappeared (although line drawings persist in modern astronomy magazines). Dr. Nick Kanas will trace the history of these and other developments that we take for granted as amateur astronomers.

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Saturday, 01/30/21


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East Bay Astronomical Society

, CA