Johann Bode, director of the Observatory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, produced the last of the four major celestial atlases in which artful depictions of constellation figures appear alongside the most up-to-date scientific data. 20 large copperplate engravings plot more than 17,000 stars, far more than any previous atlas. Bode included new stars for the southern hemisphere, along with constellations recently invented by Hevelius and Lacaille. Bode depicted more than 100 constellations, compared with 88 officially recognized today. Some which appeared in this atlas for the first time, but are not officially recognized today, include the Cat, the Printing Press, the Montgolfier Balloon, and the Electric Generator.
This coloring book, produced by the OU Academy of the Lynx, was made from images in Bode's book.
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).
How did knowledge spread in Galileo’s world?
Johann Schreck joined the Jesuit order in 1611, the same year that he used Galileo's telescope to observe the satellites of Jupiter. Upon becoming a Jesuit, Schreck joined the Jesuit mission in China, taking with him a scientific library of approximately 7,000 volumes as well as a Galilean telescope. Schreck's story is the beginning of a century-long exchange of scientific ideas between Europe and Asia.
What are your favorite constellations?
This beautiful star atlas fused artistic beauty and scientific precision, the last of the four major star atlases in which artful depictions of constellation figures appear alongside the most up to date scientific information. Bode was director of the Observatory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.
For the Galileo’s World exhibition, Jonathan A. Annis, a graduate student in the OU School of Music, worked as co-curator of the Music of the Spheres gallery. In this role he composed a suite for harp, flute (doubling alto flute) and oboe (doubling English horn) entirely comprised of musical themes from Kepler’s Harmonices mundi. Annis arranged the themes, but they derive from Kepler’s musical description of the harmonic law. In this piece, Kepler’s universe becomes a cosmic dance. Visitors to the Music of the Spheres gallery during the Galileo's World exhibition were able to listen to a short excerpt of the suite on an iPad kiosk. (Background.) CC-by-sa-nc.
Are they talking about physics as they stroll through the garden?
At a time when very few scientists were capable even of reading Newton's masterwork of physics, the "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy," Madame du Châtelet mastered it and translated it into French. She also defended Newton in the Newton-Leibniz controversy.
Identify six common constellations by their star patterns.
Urania's Mirror was a set of 32 constellation cards designed to aid in identifying the constellations by distinguishing between star patterns and constellation figures. This set includes six constellations, selected so that at least one of them is visible (in the northern hemisphere) at any time of the year. Holes punched in the positions of bright stars allow one to hold any card up to a light and compare the star pattern with the constellation figure.
OERs in this set:
- Six Constellations
- Constellation tubes
- Urania's Mirror Learning Leaflet
What objects would you include in your own scientific portrait?
Margaret Bryan was a schoolmistress for a boarding school for girls in London, in which she taught mathematics and science. She also published several popular scientific textbooks on astronomy, geography, and natural philosophy.
Although many attribute this iconic image to the Middle Ages, it first appeared in a 19th century work of meteorology. So it's fitting that this book opened a Galileo's World exhibit at the National Weather Center on Copernicus and Meteorology.
Ever wish there were a colorized version available in a suitable resolution which educators and anyone could freely use? Susanna J. Magruder created the colorized version of Flammarion's woodcut shown above, which she is distributing with a CC-by license. Enjoy! You can put it on your website, a t-shirt, a coffee mug, or print out a copy on quality paper for your wall.
Two decades ago, in 1996, Susanna's father Kerry Magruder prepared a small website telling the story of the above woodcut and tracing its first appearance to Camille Flammarion in 1888. That old website remains available, largely unchanged (and frequently copied around the web): "This is not a medieval woodcut." It explores the image as visual rhetoric, concluding that its enduring appeal lies not so much in the flat Earth myth but as an icon of our common quest of discovery and exploration, the challenge of "boldly going where no one has gone before."
Black and white version: Color your own.
Related OER: "Boldly Explore" Learning Leaflet.
Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), p. 163. Colorized by Susanna J. Magruder. Courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. CC-by.