Galileo's World

Urania's Mirror: card set (full page)

Urania's Mirror Card Set

What are your favorite constellations?

Urania's Mirror was a set of constellation cards designed to aid in the teaching and learning of constellations. This set includes 32 cards, each focused upon one or a few constellations. 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. This is the full-page set.

OERs in this set:  


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Johannes Kepler: Harmony of the Universe

Image of Kepler's Harmonic Law

In the work, Harmony of the Universe, Kepler integrated theoretical astronomy and music, ,showing that the motions of the planets employ the same numerical ratios as the most harmonious scales. Kepler's "harmonic law" still describes how planets and stars and satellites and galaxies revolve around one another in space.

Learn more about Kepler's "harmonic law" and its modern realizations in this learning leaflet.

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Hildegard of Bingen: An Abbess for Health Care

Hildegard of Bingen Learning Leaflet

Why did people come to Hildegard’s convent? 

Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess of convents at Rupertsberg and Elbingen in the 12th century, explained their herbal remedies and medical procedures in her book Physica. In addition to this work on medicine, Hildegard wrote other works on cosmology and theology, corresponded in nearly 400 letters with abbots, popes and emperors, and created at least 70 musical compositions. This OER explores the significance of Hildegard of Bingen.


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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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Maria Merian: World-Traveling Entomologist

Maria Merian Learning Leaflet

How do art and travel benefit natural history? 

Maria Merian (1647-1717), skilled in both art and natural history, studied the relationships between flowers and insects. She conducted field expeditions around the world, carried out research in gardens and museums, and produced detailed sketches and beautiful paintings, and even bred insects to aid in her entomological investigations. 


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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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Urania's Mirror: Constellation card set (half-page)

Urania's Mirror Card Set

What are your favorite constellations?

Urania's Mirror was a set of constellation cards designed to aid in the teaching and learning of constellations. This set includes 32 cards, each focused upon one or a few constellations. 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. This is the half-page set.

OERs in this set:  


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Books as Instruments

Regiomontanus,  Calendarium (1476), volvelle

In this remarkable book, Regiomontanus predicted the positions of the Sun and Moon for 40 years. He designed a sundial to work independently of one︎'s latitude, and a volvelle, or circular dial, to locate the position and phase of the Moon according to date and time. Books became observing instruments in their own right.

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Ada Lovelace: First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace Learning Leaflet

What is the difference between a calculating machine and a computer? 

In notes appended to Ada Lovelace's translation of one of the first introductions to Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine," she included an in-depth analysis of the significance and potential of Babbage's machine design. These dense notes, much longer than the text she translated, explained how Babbage's machine had the potential of becoming a programmable computer, instead of merely a calculator.


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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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