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Mapping the Heavens: Celestial Cartography from Ancient to Modern Times - Livestream

Nick Kanas

In this online talk, Nick Kanas (UC San Francisco, Emeritus) will explore the evolution of celestial cartography. People have observed the night sky since antiquity in an effort to predict celestial events and understand their place in the universe. Many cultures organized the stars into heavenly patterns that reflected issues important to them. In ancient Greece, the stars were placed in constellations that were viewed as allegorical representations of classical Greek heroes, heroines, and monsters. These images formed the backbone of the cosmological and constellation maps that appeared in stunningly beautiful star atlases of the 17th and 18th Centuries. But telescopic and scientific needs called for more accuracy in star placement, and gradually the heavenly bodies were positioned in increasingly accurate coordinate systems superimposed on the sky. Constellation images became redundant, and they have largely disappeared in today’s modern star atlases.

RSVP at weblink for Zoom information.

Friday, 12/04/20


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Stanford University

, CA