Category Archives: astronomy

Acceptance, rejection and indifference to heliocentricity before 1610.

Johannes Petreius published Copernicus’ De revolutionibus in 1543 how was this major new cosmological and astronomical work with its heliocentric hypothesis actually received in the first approximately seventy years after it appearance?  Michael Fugate and others continue to enquire about or insist … Continue reading

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The Earth-like Mars

Mars – a distant, extraterrestrial world, but it shares some surprising similarities with Earth. The rotation period is almost the same with 24 hours, 39 minutes and 21,67 seconds (as measured by astronomer William Herschel in 1777-1783), the planet possess … Continue reading

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We live in a geocentric world!

Whenever I mention geocentrism in a blog post one or other of my commentators of the anti-religious persuasion comes along and tries to claim that the reasons for the acceptance of geocentric cosmology were mostly, largely or totally religious and … Continue reading

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More than transitory interest: an instrument of note

Slightly belatedly, here’s a cross-posting of my last post on the Longitude Project blog, which takes a closer look at a significant astronomical relic: A lesson quickly learned in the world of museum collections and displays – perhaps especially in … Continue reading

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The Virgin Queen was in reality John Dee in drag.

The rumbling you can hear in the background is the HISTSCI HULK playing skittles with some skyscrapers. He’s all riled up and wants to place a big green foot in Carole Jahme’s butt and propel her into publishing purgatory. What … Continue reading

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Reflecting the heavens

In the past I have written about the problems of deciding who actually invented the reflecting telescope and also about John Hadley the man who, about fifty years after Newton had made the first functioning reflecting telescope, finally succeeded in manufacturing them. Today I … Continue reading

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When you’re in a hole, stop digging!

Somebody made a comment at Scientific American on Ken Shulman’s article pointing to my criticism and providing a link. Not unexpectedly, Mr Shulman has reacted and posted a sort of defence of his excruciating piece on the history of astronomy. He … Continue reading

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Mapping the history of triangulation

Triangulation was for about 400 years until the invention of GPS the only tool available to cartographers to help them produce highly accurate maps. Maps that had hugh political, economic, scientific and military significance in the modern era. Have you … Continue reading

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My Royal Society talk: Maskelyne’s reputation

Readers of this blog may be interested to listen to a talk I gave at the Royal Society last week. Audio and slideshow versions are available here. The talk was entitled “Hero or villain? Nevil Maskelyne’s posthumous reputation” and, while pointing … Continue reading

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Who put the names on the moon?

If you have ever looked at a map of the moon you might have noticed that many of the selenographical features are named after astronomers and you might just have asked yourself how come? At this point several of my … Continue reading

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