Learning Leaflet

Orion the Hunter

Orion the Hunter Learning Leaflet

Can you recognize Orion the Hunter?

Three bright stars in a row make up Orion's belt, within a rectangle of four bright stars representing his shoulders and feet. Since Orion's belt lies nearly upon the celestial equator, Orion is visible from every inhabited part of the globe. This OER introduces the astronomy and skylore of the constellation Orion the Hunter.


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Banned Books of the Scientific Revolution

Banned Books Learning Leaflet

The three most famous banned books of the Copernican revolution, listed in chronological order, are On the Revolutions of Copernicus (1543); a Commentary on the biblical book of Job by Zúñiga, a theologian in Salamanca; and a Letter in defense of Copernicus by the Carmelite monk Paolo Foscarini. Use this learning leaflet to learn more about them.


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Catherine Whitwell: Astronomy & Creative Writing

Catherine Whitwell Learning Leaflet

Why write science in a creative style? 

Catherine Whitwell wrote an introduction to the night sky as a conversational dialogue between a mother and daughter. It contains 23 engraved plates drawn by Whitwell herself, including four hand colored folding plates. One of the plates depicts the constellations of Corvus the Crow, Crater the Cup and Hydra the Water Snake. Another plate conveys a dramatic impression of the Full Moon at night, shown against a striking black background. 


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Phases of Venus: Riccioli, New Almagest

Phases of Venus-Riccioli

The phases of Venus were an item of discussion in early modern Europe as scientists sought to determine whether it was evidence of the heliocentric system. Yet among the scientists it was anything but conclusive that this evidence proved the sun-centered universe. Learn more in this learning leaflet.


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Pythagorean Solids: Five Regular Solids

Pythagorean Solids Learning Leaflet

Can you identify the five regular solids? 

Throughout history the regular solids were studied with keen interest by astronomers, mathematicians, artists, architects and philosophers. The Pythagoreans proved that there are only five regular solids: the cube, triangle, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron. 


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The Trial of Galileo

Galileo Trial LL

The story of Galileo’s trial in 1633 intertwines two crucial earlier episodes:

1. Galileo’s encounter with the Inquisition in 1616; and

2. Publication of Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World in 1632. 

Learn more about them in this learning leaflet.


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Astronomy & Music: Introduction to the Duochord

Duochord Learning Leaflet

Can you identify simple musical intervals? 

The ancient Pythagoreans envisioned the heavens as a musical scale, comprised of celestial spheres rotating according to harmonious music. For Robert Fludd, a seventeenth-century physician, the universe was a monochord, its physical structure unintelligible without an understanding of music. In this activity, explore the relationship between mathematics, astronomy, and music.


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Hoot the Owl

Hoot the Owl

A children’s book, The Story of How the Constellation ‘Hoot the Owl’ Began, was written and Illustrated by Anna Todd (2017), a 2nd grade student at Rose Witcher Elementary School, El Reno Public Schools, located in El Reno, Oklahoma. The book developed in collaboration with Stacey Stephenson and was inspired by the Galileo's World exhibition (backstory).


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Relativity of Motion: The Moving Ship Thought Experiment

Relativity of Motion Learning Leaflet

Why do we have no eyewitness reports refuting Aristotle's physics? 

Galileo's "Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World" includes a discussion about dropping balls from the mast of both a moving ship and a ship at rest in order to test the theory of inertia. If sailors actually had performed the experiment, believing with Aristotle that a cannonball dropped from the mast would fall harmlessly into the wake of the ship, why were no reports made to the contrary? This OER features a cartoon answering that question.


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Discorso particolare intorno all'unisono

Vincenzo Musical Score

Vincenzo Galilei was among the first music theorists to advocate for a new system of tuning based on performance, instead of the mathematical principles of music set fourth by Pythagoras. Pythagorean music theory bases pitch on the mathematical proportions of dividing a string. Vincenzo's primary problem with this system is that, although it is great for the mathematician and the music theorist, it is impractical for the performer. All music based on this particular system of tuning would inevitably sound out of tune and unpleasant. In this learning leaflet learn about the tuning systems in the late-Renaissance period.


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