various astronomy-related historical images

Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop - ND VII July 7-10, 2005

Abstracts (listed alphabetically)

Durruty Jesús de Alba Martínez (University of Guadalajara)
“Calling to Mars? Ideas on Extraterrestrial Communication by a Catholic Priest and Astronomer in the Early Twentieth Century”
In the same year that Sir Arthur Eddington suggested a process trying to explain stars' energy source, a catholic lay priest devoted to astronomy at Jalisco State Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory, México, published a paper titled “Marte y las comunicaciones interplanetarias” (Mars and Interplanetary Communications) in the Boletín de la Sociedad Médico-Farmacética de Guadalajara (Guadalajara's Medical-pharmaceutical Society Bulletin). Here I expose such ideas, showing the article and a curious design in it of a message to the extraterrestrials. I also briefly described the astronomy popularization activities in which he was involved, like a conference to high school students, the transcript of which was later published.

William B. Ashworth (University of Missouri and the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology)
“Rheticus, Bearing Gifts”
Rheticus was fond of giving. He gave sumptuous volumes to Copernicus and Achilles Gasser, and he presented horoscopes to Girolamo Cardano. Many of his gift books were printed by Johannes Petreius, and the horoscopes would end up in Cardano's astrological works, also printed by Petreius. We will offer a visual tour of these gift books and the Rheticus horoscopes, comment on the curious Rheticus-Petreius-Cardano triangle, and provide a look at the most recent copy of the Narratio Prima to emigrate to the United States, now at the Linda Hall Library.

Peter Barker (University of Oklahoma)
“How Rheticus became a Copernican”
A common view of the early scientific revolution attributes two separate innovations to Copernicus: he introduced a new heliocentric astronomy, and he introduced a new methodological standard in astronomy, requiring that astronomical theories be physically significant, rather than fictions or calculating devices. Rheticus was trained in Ptolemaic astronomy which is clearly geocentric, and perhaps fictionalist. On this account, between arriving to stay with Copernicus in May 1539 and the completion of the Narratio prima in September, Rheticus had to adopt both a revolutionary view of astronomy and a revolutionary view of astronomical method. I will discuss what Rheticus actually found important in Copernicus, and what other people found important in Rheticus, against the background of the author's training at Wittenberg after Melanchthon's reform of the curriculum.

Trudy E. Bell (Independent Scholar)
“The San Luís Observatory: Dudley Observatory's Nearly-Forgotten Southern Observing Station”
From 1908-12, the Dudley Observatory in Albany, N.Y., built and operated a southern observing station at San Luís, Argentina, equipped with Dudley's own massive 8-inch Olcott Meridian Circle dismounted and transported for just that purpose. Funded as one of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's two flagship astronomy projects (the other being George Ellery Hale's Mount Wilson solar observatory), the San Luís Observatory culminated Dudley director Lewis Boss's lifelong dream of investigating stellar proper motions over the entire celestial sphere to ascertain the shape and dynamics of “the sidereal system.”

At its peak, San Luís had a staff larger than Dudley itself. Under veteran meridian-circle observer Richard Hawley Tucker (on leave from Lick Observatory), the 10 men set a world record of measuring 87,000 meridian transits in 22 months. Fueling that breakneck speed, however, was the men's profound unhappiness with the physical conditions plus Boss's own anxiety over funding, so the astronomers unilaterally omitted all photometry originally planned so as to leave a year early. At his death in 1912, Boss realized that Kapteyn's “two streams of stars” model was faulty, and--from combining Dudley's proper-motion data with Lick's radial-velocity data--wondered whether the sidereal system may instead have had some kind of generalized rotation.

Although published literature about San Luís is sparse, more than 2,000 pages of unpublished letters and 40 photographs survive in the archives of Dudley, Lick, and the Carnegie Institution. The presentation will recount the grand astrophysical goal of extending positional astronomy to the southern skies, and will suggest that staff dissension at San Luís might be illuminated by literature about the psychology of isolation and confinement in polar and space expeditions.

Lis Brack-Bernsen (Regensburg University)
“On the Prediction of Lunar Eclipses”
It is well known that lunar and solar eclipses were predicted by means of large Saros Cycle schemes (Britton, Huber, Steele). These schemes included all new and full moons at which an eclipse could possible take place. from the Diaries we know that not only the date of an expected eclipse was recorded, but also the time at which the darkening was expected to start. For a long time it was not known how the time of a future eclipse was predicted. However in 2002 Steele presented a cuneiform tablet with a linear zigzag function which most likely gives the time shift between eclipses situated 1 Saros apart. Sections 9 - 12 of the procedure text TU11 (published 2002 by Brack-Bersen and Hunger) give 4 model calculations for finding the time of an eclipse expected 1 Saros after an earlier eclipse, the beginning time of which was known. One way of interpreting these sections lets the shift in time be calculated as: 1 mina + 1/3 times the length of the night. Based on this interpretation, on the EAE schemes for the length of the night, and on the months of eclipses (as given in the SC scheme), linear zigzag functions for the timeshift can be constructed. These functions fit “nature” very well - as well as the function presented by Steele. This confirms our interpretation that gives another example from the intermediate astronomy in which the length of the night was used as a generating function for astronomical quantities.

Lis Brack-Bernsen (Regensburg University)
“The 360 Day Year in Mesopotamia”
This paper provides an introduction to the administrative 360-day calendar and the cultic astronomical-lunisolar calendar from Mesopotamia, as well as textual evidence of their utilization in archaic texts and/or texts from Ur III. Interplay between the two calendars in early astronomical-astrological texts will be shown through an analysis of tables from Enuma Anu Enlil XIV and from MUL.APIN.

Bill Brewer (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
“Similarities between Young Children's Initial Cosmological Theories and Early Cosmological Theories in Greece and China”
In this talk I will describe the remarkable similarities between early Greek and Chinese cosmological theories and those of young Western children.

Recent research on young children's beliefs about observational astronomy (Vosniadou & Brewer, 1992, 1994) has revealed a very rich developmental picture. Children age 6 to 9 years believe that the earth is a flat, stationary object and that the day/night cycle is caused by occlusion mechanisms such as clouds coming in front of the sun or movement mechanisms such as moving down behind mountains.

Our findings suggest that children's initial cosmological models are creative inventions of young children based on their observation of astronomical phenomena; are held in opposition to the cultural views of the adults around them; and should be universal. There is cross-cultural data to support this claim (Samarapungavan, Vosniadou, & Brewer, 1996).

These recent findings in Cognitive Psychology have an interesting implication for the History of Astronomy. The constraints that we have uncovered should have been operating in the adults who produced the very earliest cosmologies and therefore we should expect very early cosmological models to show strong similarities to those we have uncovered in young children. Examination of accounts of the shape of earth and the day/night cycle found in the earliest Greek cosmologies (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Democritus, Leucippus, Pythagoras) and early Chinese cosmology (Kai T'ien--Sky as Cover; Hun T'ien--Celestial Sphere) provide strong support for our hypothesis.

John P. Britton (Independent Scholar)
Almagest IV.2 Revisited”
The talk reexamines Ptolemy's account of the derivation of provisional mean motions in lunar anomaly, elongations and argument of latitude, parameters which Ptolemy attributes to Hipparchus, but whose Babylonian origin Kugler recognized over a century ago. Three issues are addressed: the accuracy and consistency of Ptolemy's account, the activities and contributions of Hipparchus, and finally the implications of this account for Ptolemy's objectives and historical credibility.

John Britton (Independent Scholar)
“Calendars and Year-lengths in Mesopotamian Astronomical Practice”
The talk addresses three topics: the two calendars, civil and schematic, encountered in Mesopotamian astronomy and their principal variants; the evolution of intercalation practices in the Late Babylonian period culminating in their standardization early in the 5th century B.C; and a survey of the 8 progressively more accurate values for the length of the year found in cuneiform astronomical texts.

Glen van Brummelen (Bennington College)
“The Islamic Almagests: Trigonometric and Astronomical Tables and Computation after Ptolemy”
The Islamic mathematical astronomical tradition relies heavily on the patterns of thought established in the Almagest and, to a lesser extent, the Handy Tables. This includes a number of techniques that manipulate what we might call mathematical functions in a number of ways, some of them sophisticated, to produce numerical results useful for predictions of astronomical events. Muslim astronomers, especially in zijes (astronomical handbooks) but also elsewhere, adopted these methods, seemingly, with surprising passivity. We shall examine several of these computational procedures, in an attempt to gauge the extent to which it can be said that real innovation with intellectual interest occurred in the Ptolemaic tradition after Ptolemy.

Peter Henry Cheasley (Independent Scholar)
“Is There Music in Space?--Yes”
Music recognition computer programs have become available. In 1996, the author of this poster paper, Peter Henry Cheasley VE2TPR, recognized that the noise coming in over his radio telescope, 3.5ghz , was music. The use of this recognition computer program permitted the immediate conversion of the incoming signal to musical notes based on the harmonic system of music. Version 3.0 introduced enharmonic notes into the recognition process and version 3.2 permits a more sensitive capacity.

Radio telescope observations are recorded daily. Those of importance are submitted to The Seti League, P.O. Box 555, Little Ferry, NJ ,U.S.A., for peer review. See

This fact that music exists in space is determined by practice. The future starts with two questions: Space and Planet Earth used the enharmonic music scale until 1300 AD: Why? Philippe de Vitry replaced the enharmonic scale with the harmonic music scale, in Europe: Why?

Michael J. Crowe (University of Notre Dame)
“Teaching about the Extraterrestrial Life Debate session”
In the last twenty years, astrobiology courses have sprung up at a large number of colleges and universities. Not only is student interest in this area very strong, but the field has attained increasing academic respectability. Simultaneously, historians of science have succeeded in working out a more or less comprehensive history of the extraterrestrial life debate. The two historians of science who are the presenters for this session, Michael Crowe and Peter Ramberg, have begun offering a course on the history of the extraterrestrial life debate at their universities (Notre Dame and Truman State). Moreover, we have been developing a source book for use in such courses. The purposes of this session are to outline the content and objectives of these courses, and to suggest the advantages (1) of offering such a course, (2) of enhancing existing mainline history of science or astronomy courses by including materials relevant to the extraterrestrial life debate, and/or (3) of engaging in research relevant to this important area. Steven Dick, who has written extensively on the history of the extraterrestrial life debate, will supply commentary.

Dennis Danielson (University of British Columbia)
“Rheticus and Friends session”
Almost all historians of astronomy know that it was Georg Joachim Rheticus, an intrepid young mathematics professor from the University of Wittenberg, who in the years 1539-1541 rekindled the astronomical career of Nicolaus Copernicus and subsequently arranged for the publication of De revolutionibus (1543). The aim of this session, however, is to remove Rheticus somewhat from the shadow of Copernicus and to examine his role as one of the great scientific networkers of his age, as well as a pioneer of astronomy and geometry in his own right. Four fifteen-minute papers will revisit scientific-theoretical issues raised by the work of Rheticus (such as realism and instrumentalism); probe still-unanswered questions pertaining to the life and accomplishments of Rheticus; and explore his relationship with other such important figures as Johannes Petreius, Johann Schoener, Peter Apian, Andreas Osiander, Girolamo Cardano, Johannes Praetorius, and Valentin Otto. Then, following the papers, almost a full hour will be devoted to a wider discussion among presenters and attendees aimed at reassessing the achievements of this colorful and unique character.

Dennis Danielson (University of British Columbia)
“How Rheticus stayed a Copernican”
Historians such as Ernst Zinner have alleged that after 1543 Rheticus became less of an astronomer, and less a defender of Copernican astronomy, than he been before his teacher's death. Such allegations fail to appreciate how extraordinarily difficult a defense of Copernicanism was, and how alone in the task was Rheticus as its defender. They also fail to appreciate how necessary to that defense was an improved trigonometry, and perhaps above all how consistently Rheticus, in the three decades after the publication of De revolutionibus, reiterated his desire to deliver “fruit from the most delightful gardens of Copernicus.”

Leo Depuydt (Brown University)
“The Calendar Year in Ancient Egypt”
The aim of this paper is to review, in the spirit of this session on “Calendars and Years” at the biennial Notre Dame Workshop on the History of Astronomy, what we know about the structure of the calendar year in ancient Egypt, its length, its structure, its origin, and so on. The focus will be on the presentation of the hard evidence as it is found in the surviving sources. The history of the modern study of the ancient Egyptian year up to the present day will also be surveyed. In the history of humanity, someone somewhere sooner or later simply had to notice that 365 is the integer number of years that is closest to the true length of the solar year or year of the seasons and in addition put this number 365 into calendrical practice. The surviving historical evidence leaves no doubt that the ancient Egyptians were first. What is more, they were ahead of everyone else by two to three thousand years. The sole division of 365 days that is positively recognizable in the sources is one into 12 months of 30 days plus 5 added days. This calendrical structure was known already in antiquity as the “civil” calendar. This continuous cycle of 12 x 30 + 5 is often praised for its simplicity, as if it is a work of genius. In addition to the civil year, lunar years were also used, but their use was restricted mainly to the religious domain. These lunar years and their relation to the civil year will be discussed as well.

Dennis Duke (Florida State University)
“Computer Animations of Ancient Planetary Models”
I will present my computer animations of ancient planetary models. These are a set of some 22 animations for those who teach the ancient models of planetary motion, those who want to learn those models, or even those who enjoy simply contemplating just how clever the ancient astronomers were. The main display will be a computer running the animations for anyone interested in seeing them. All of the animations are freely available for non-commercial use and are online at

Dennis Duke (Florida State University)
“Who Knew What, and When? The Timing of Discoveries in Early Greek Astronomy”
A 1973 paper by Toomer concluded that Hipparchus was using a circle of radius D = 6875 to compute the trigonometry functions used in his analyses of two trios of lunar eclipses to determine the elements of the Moon's orbit. Although Toomer's later discovery that his analysis of one of the trios was flawed led him to doubt his conclusion, it has remained a curiosity that the only other known use of 6875 is in ancient Indian astronomy. A new analysis reveals that Hipparchus was indeed using not only D = 6875, but also the square root of 10 as an approximation to pi, thus revealing yet another connection between early Greek and ancient Indian astronomy. I will briefly review many similar connections and the implications for our understanding of the timing of the origin of the most sophisticated element in the Almagest: the equant.

Forthcoming papers relevant to this presentation are available: “The Equant in India: The Mathematical Basis of Indian Planetary Models” and “Hipparchus' Eclipse Trios and Early Trigonometry”.

Dennis Duke (Florida State University)
“Early Mathematical Astronomy session”
The session(s) will cover the most recent advances in our understanding of early mathematical astronomy. The principal focus will be on the period prior to the Almagest (ca. 150 AD), and on efforts to determine what was and was not known to astronomers in those years, what techniques were being developed, and what discoveries may have been made.

Christopher Fluke (Swinburne University of Technology)
“The Universe in Three Dimensions: The First Era of Stereoscopic Astrophotography”
Following Charles Wheatstone's description of the stereoscopic effect in 1833, stereoscopic imaging developed in parallel with photography. From the 1850s until the early 1900s, stereoscopic astrophotography was both a novelty and scientific tool - yet this is a topic that has not been studied in much detail (with the exception of Greenslade (1972), who wrote on the first stereoscopic picture of the Moon). At the end of this era, the most important spin-offs from stereoscopic photography were the invention of the stereo-comparator and blink-comparator that would be crucial for the discovery of Pluto.

In this talk I will discuss my research into the first 50 years of stereoscopic astrophotography including the main proponents (in particular Warren De La Rue, E.E. Barnard and George Hale), the methods they used, the objects they imaged (the Moon, Sun, planets and various comets) and the discoveries that resulted. I will also describe a collaboration between artists and astronomers that is attempting to reproduce these images for display in a stereoscopic projection theatre as a public education activity.

Owen Gingerich (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
“Instrumental Friends in Bavaria: Schöner, Apianus, and Petreius”
Both Johannes Schöner in Nuremberg and Petrus Apianus in Ingolstadt repeatedly published astronomical works with Johannes Petreius, the Nuremberg printer who, through Rheticus' efforts, eventually published Copernicus' De revolutionibus. Both Schöner and Apianus published large paper equatoria, which obviously influenced each other, and which remain typographic showpieces from this period. Schöner, the dedicatee of Rheticus' Narratio prima, probably worked together with Petreius to urge Rheticus to make the trip to northern Poland and to bring Copernicus' work back for publication. Copernicus attributed to Schöner (erroneously, as it turns out) two key observations he used for his Mercury theory. Apianus, close enough to Nuremberg to be considered an insider, knew that Andreas Osiander was the author of the anonymous foreword added at the print shop to the De revolutionibus, something that Rheticus suspected.

Uwe Glessmer (University of Hamburg)
“Knowledge of Calendars through the Library of Qumran”
The Library of Qumran provides us with a lot of calendrical texts. Nearly all of them contain one common element: the number of 364 days within a year. Despite this common element, the concepts are not totally the same in all texts. It seems not to be appropriate to talk of the 364-days-calendar of Qumran as a unity, but a plurality of contexts and concepts can be seen. In some elements even historical developments may be recognized. For example, the oldest materials within the book of Enoch contrast its own concept with 364 days against a 360-day reckoning. But Enoch materials from 200 BCE (and earlier) and calendrical references in the book of Jubilees do not refer to priestly courses, which in a bulk of other texts from Qumran serve as a base for the weekly structure of time (as in later inscriptions in several synagogues). Some texts do have a positive reference to lunar events, while comparable elements are missing in other calendrical writings--or are declared as the mistake of those who are in error as the book of Jubilees explicitly states.

To give an overview about the material as well as a sketch of possible backgrounds for the common elements within the 364-day concepts is the topic of the contribution. It will also deal with the empirical and religious needs of Jewish groups and their astronomic-cosmological world views in the last centuries BCE.

Robert J. Havlik (University of Notre Dame)
“A Fair Use of Arcturus: A Syzygy of Scholarians of the Yerkes Observatory In the Lighting of the Chicago Century of Progress, 1933”
The objective of this paper is to relate the story of a small group of dedicated astronomers who were or formerly were associated with the Yerkes Observatory, who cooperated in the lighting of the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition. It is also the story of the use of an early electronic instrument, the photo-electric cell, and the utilization of the light from the star Arcturus, to signal the lighting of the Fair, thus furthering the application of Astrophysics for the general public. Photographs, motion pictures and a transcription of a radio broadcast of the opening lighting ceremonies of the Fair are available.

Gerald S. Hawkins and Vance R. Tiede
“Stonehenge Computer Confirmed”
We present new evidence to discern the intent behind the construction of Stonehenge in Southern England by Neolithic peoples 5,000 years ago. Citing the historian Hecataeus [ca. 500 B.C.], Diodorus of Sicily [ca. 50 B.C.] describes a temple in Hyperborea (identified as Stonehenge by R. Hennig, “Die Anfänge des kulturellen und Handelsverkehr in der Mittelmeerwelt,” Historiche Zeitschrift 139:19 [1929]):

And there is also on the island a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape They also say how the moon (_______), as viewed from this island, appears to be but a little distance from the earth. The account is also given that that the god (____) visits the island every nineteen years, the period in which the return of the stars (______) to the same place in the heavens is accomplished; and for this reason the nineteen-year period is called by the Greeks the year of Meton. (Diodorus of Sicily II: 47.1-6, [C. H. Oldfather, trans.] Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979, p.41, cf. XII.36)

We suggest a new translation of Diodorus to mean that Stonehenge pointed to the Solstice Sun and High Moon when they were both at their turning points against the background of the zodiac stars every 19+18+19 years. Archaeologically, astronomically, and etymologically speaking, it is not the return of the stars, but rather of the luminous bodies (______/astron, i.e., sun, moon and stars) to the same place in the heavens nearly every 19 years that is marked by the horizon alignments at Stonehenge (cf. The Classic Greek Dictionary, Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1943, pp. 109-110). We also present new evidence linking lunar eclipses and the 56-sided polygon of Typhon (the god of eclipses and disasters reported by the Greek astronomer Eudoxus [of Cnidus, 408-355 B.C.]) with the 56 Aubrey holes at Stonehenge, according to a 56-year cycle of 19+18+19 years.

When astronomer Gerald Hawkins first published the moon-sun interpretation of Stonehenge (Nature 200:306 [1963] and 202:1258 [1964]), some archaeologists questioned it because the accuracy of the existing site plan was poor or dismissed the precise luni-solar alignments as fortuitous. After British archaeologist R. J. C. Atkinson (Nature 275:50 [1978]) resurveyed the Station Stone rectangle and Avenue Axis, we repeated the astronomical analysis. Our new calculations confirm that the stones mark Solstice Sun and High Moon orientations more accurately than originally reported.

Thanks to Atkinson's survey, archaeologists may now accept the astronomical interpretation of Stonehenge with confidence. Accordingly, both the sun and moon alignments should be presented to the public at English Heritage's Stonehenge Visitor Centre when it opens in 2009.

Giora Hon and Yaakov Zik (University of Haifa)
“Science and Instruments: Theory and Practice of Early Telescopic Observations”
Kepler (1571-1630) was well familiar with the great difficulties which astronomers encountered in measuring the heavenly bodies. In his Paralipomena (1604) he set out the main themes of his argument. Astronomy has two parts: physical and practical. The physical part consists of the investigation and comprehension of the forms of motions, and is mainly subservient to philosophical contemplation. The second part, arising from it, investigates the positions of the heavenly bodies at any given moment, and has a practical orientation as it lays the foundation for prognosis. In astronomical demonstrations there are two kinds of principles: observations and the physical or metaphysical axioms. Three components make up the observational part of astronomy: 1. the mechanical component, dealing with instruments suitable for observing the celestial motions; 2. the historical component, comprising the observations themselves, and 3. the optical component of astronomy.

To test theories one needs an interface between symbolic representations and the real world. Observations, experiments, and the technological means that facilitate them, provide this interface. No matter how intuitively appealing and mathematically advanced a physical theory may be, it only enters the domain of standard physical science when confronted, tested, checked, and if necessary modified and even rejected by the measure of the real world that observations and experiments provide. Thus when, in 1610, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) introduced the telescope as a scientific instrument into astronomy, Kepler did not ignore the link established by Galileo between the theory underpinning the telescope and the instrument's usage. The event proved of singular importance for the course of modern science.

In this context the question as to whether practice preceded theory has so far remained unsettled. The first objective of this research project is to document in detail and analyze the complex relations that subsist between theory and instrument at the time of the introduction of the telescope. By critically tracing the origin of the theory of the telescope and the incipient insight that placed an instrument between the naked eye and an object, we expect our research to open up novel perspectives on the history of optics and astronomy. The second objective is wider and more important. The introduction of the telescope poses a fundamental question in the historiography of the development of modern science: how are we to understand a scientific instrument as an object that encapsulates knowledge that is not of propositional nature?

We expect our research to arrive at significant new results as to the interfaces between instrument, symbolic representation, and the real world. We hope that the methodology we intend to develop will further the study of scientific change.

Wayne Horowitz (Hebrew University)
“The Astrolabes: Astronomy, Theology, and Chronology”
The Middle Assyrian tablet KAV 218 (Astrolabe B) and its parallels, commonly known as 'The Astrolabes,' form the earliest surviving group of cuneiform astronomical texts. These works present an astronomical-calendrical theory by which the starry sky is divided into three east-west stellar paths: the northern Path of Enlil, the central Path of Anu, and southern Path of Ea. These in turn are further divided into twelve stellar sectors; one for each month of the year, thereby yielding a repertoire of 36 month-stars whose risings and settings mark the months of the year. The Babylonian national creation epic Enuma Elish teaches that it was the Babylonian King of the Gods, Marduk himself, who established this system at the time of creation. In this paper I will present findings from my long standing project studying the sources belonging to the Astrolabe group.

Alexander Jones (University of Toronto)
“The Astronomical Inscription from Keskinto (Rhodes)”
In the 1890s a stone inscription in Greek containing elements of planetary theory was discovered at Keskinto, near Lindos, on the island of Rhodes. The inscription can be dated approximately from the style of lettering to about 100 B.C., so that the theory that it records was devised about the time of Hipparchus or soon after, a period for which our knowledge of Greek astronomy is very thin. Following the publication of an imperfect transcription of the text in 1894, significant progress in interpreting its contents was made by Paul Tannery and O. Neugebauer, but much remains enigmatic. My talk will discuss the inscription in the context of what we know about publication and publicization of scientific work in antiquity, and will try to sort out what we can and cannot hope to learn from further study of it.

Teije de Jong (Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek”)
“Babylonian Observations of First and Last Appearances of Venus”
Among the observations recorded by Babylonian astronomers in the “Astronomical Diaries” first and last visibilities of the planets take a prominent place. The database formed by these Diaries (650 - 50 BC) played a crucial role in the development of Babylonian mathematical astronomy (6th - 4th century BC). Even today the Diaries provide the largest and most homogeneous collection of naked-eye observations of the dates of first and last visibility of the planets. In this paper I study 70 reliable Babylonian observations of Venus recorded in the Diaries (525 - 75 BC) using a physical model of the visibility phenomenon, based on the sensitivity of the human eye, the varying brightness of the sky at the horizon during twilight and the variable extinction of the terrestrial atmosphere. It turns out that there are asymmetries in the values of the “arcus visionis” of Venus between morning and evening visibility, last and first visibility and at inner and outer conjunction. These asymmetries can be explained by the physics of the process. This study confirms that the Babylonians were excellent observers. A better understanding of the quality and the properties of the observational data assists in acquiring a deeper insight in the ways in which the observations were used for the later development of the Babylonian mathematical planetary theory.

Nicholas Kollerstrom (University College, London)
“The Naming of Neptune”
Immediately after receiving a letter announcing its discovery, Urbain Le Verrier decided on both the name Neptune and the symbol The Trident, and announced it in the newspaper the next day. One finds this fact omitted from the histories. This resolution was rather undermined by Arago proposing on the floor of the Academie de Science that it be named 'Le Verrier's planet'. Historians have tended to assume that Le Verrier was complicit in or had requested this, but had he? Then Le Verrier received a letter from Airy in England objecting to the name 'Neptune' and proposing instead 'Oceanus' as the title. Soon everyone was proposing names for the new planet, and Le Verrier sank into a serious depression. A thorough examination of the relevant correspondence can help to elucidate the mysterious twists and turns of this story. I will examine what one might call Dennis Rawlins' hypothesis, which is that the final renunciation of the name 'LeVerrier's planet' for 'Neptune' involved a deal whereby the British astronomers ceased calling Uranus, Herschel. We shall see whether the correspondence supports such a view.

Richard Kron (Yerkes Observatory)
“Yerkes Observatory: A View from Within”
At its founding in 1897, all of the activities of The University of Chicago's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics were housed at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, in the intervening years the department has taken advantage of the site in very different ways, for example, using the laboratory space for instrument development for other observatories. At present most of our research interests are accommodated elsewhere. In this talk I will provide more background on recent uses of Yerkes by the department and some possibilities for the future. This case may serve to frame a discussion of the broader stewardship issues surrounding a historically significant site that is no longer central to a research mission.

Rudi Paul Lindner (University of Michigan)
“Curtis versus Einstein”
Heber D. Curtis's publications, based upon Einstein's original articles, introduced American astronomers to special and general relativity theory. Curtis's efforts to measure the plates from the Goldendale eclipse expedition turned him against the project. While at Allegheny Observatory he became a leader in the opposition against the theory, and his reputation suffered substantially as a result. Jeffrey Crelinstein's forthcoming book examines these episodes. This paper, based upon Curtis's papers, lecture notes, and publications, as well as materials from the Shapley papers, examines the further development of Curtis's views, and his rise from the ashes, during his career at Michigan. Curtis taught both the special and general theories, wrote about cosmology for specialist and general audiences, and engaged in a dialogue with the Michigan physicists. His work is fascinating in terms of his desire to understand newer developments, disturbing in personal terms. It also reflects, and helped develop, an interesting attitude toward émigré scientists, as well as a gap between Curtis, McMath, their colleagues, and the younger generation of astrophysicists whom they hired before 1942.

Jordan D. Marché II (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
“The Space Astronomy Laboratory Archives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison”
The University of Wisconsin Space Astronomy Laboratory (SAL) was founded in 1959 by then Washburn Observatory director Arthur D. Code (b. 1923) and astronomer Theodore E. Houck (1926-1974). Building upon the Department of Astronomy's reputation for research in photoelectric photometry, SAL has become the seat of numerous and significant projects carried out from beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

SAL personnel were among the first to conduct research in the field of ultraviolet space astronomy. Starting with Aerobee sounding rockets and NASA's X-15 rocket plane, these investigations led toward the successful design, construction, launch, and operation of the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO-2) spacecraft, the first remotely-operated space observatory.

From the 1970s to the early 1990s, SAL scientists and engineers participated in construction of the High Speed Photometer (HSP), one of five principal scientific instruments flown aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The HSP's Principal Investigator, Robert C. Bless, in turn chaired the HST 'crisis' team that sought to correct a host of financial, technical, and management problems associated with the Space Telescope program.

In the coming months/years, we hope to process more than 90 linear feet of SAL documents, including papers of the late Wisconsin astronomer Olin J. Eggen (1919-1998). Through the preparation of finding aids, lists of correspondents, and series/folder descriptions, these collections will then be made available to visiting researchers.

James Marshall (Independent Scholar)
“Fort Ancient State Memorial Walls Tested for Archaeoastronomical Azimuths”
Fort Ancient, located in Warren County, Ohio, near Lebanon, is a prehistorical construction of approximately 3.5 miles of walls around a flat hilltop. These walls and their openings have been the subject of several research projects demonstrating alignments to rising and/or setting points of the sun, moon, and/or stars.

This researcher tests these alignments, together with replications of lengths of these walls at sites about 60 miles east in Ross County, Ohio.

Stamatina Mastorakou (Imperial College, London)
“Ancient Popular Astronomy, Third Century B.C. to First Century A.D.: Aratus's Phaenomena
The aim of my research is to reconstruct the astronomical practices of the third century B.C. to the first century A.D., in particular, finding out what the person's astronomical knowledge was and what she/he believed. I hope to achieve that, firstly, by an examination of Aratus' Phaenomena, third century B.C., a very popular astronomical poem in the Hellenistic and Roman world and, secondly, by an examination of the relevant archaeological material of the period, such as sundials, the Tower of the Winds, and the Antikythera mechanism.

In this paper I will only deal with Aratus' Phaenomena. In particular, I will focus on Aratus' sources in an effort to show in which way he used them and what this can tell us about the function and the audience of the poem and also about the astronomical knowledge of the period. The first source on which the first part of Aratus' poem draws is the Phaenomena of Eudoxus, written perhaps as much as a century before Aratus' poem; the second part, on weather-signs, draws on a work from the fourth century B.C. perhaps by the philosopher Theophrastus. Finally, I will examine whether Aratus wrote his poem in a Stoic environment and if yes how that influenced in specific ways his work.

Stephen McCluskey (West Virginia University)
“Church Orientations and Astronomical Principles: Indigenous, Greek, or Roman?”
Surveys of the history of astronomy tend to emphasize the Greek sources of medieval astronomy, often overlooking its immediate Roman sources. Two areas where we can identify the sources of medieval astronomy by considering how they are put into practice are computus, which developed an ecclesiastical calendar on astronomical principles, and the orientation of churches, which is frequently established on astronomical principles.

A wide range of popular and scholarly literature maintains that churches are oriented toward sunrise--commonly specifying that this orientation is either toward sunrise on the equinoxes or toward sunrise on the feast day of the Church's patron saint. A survey of such churches can test the validity of these hypothesis and the specifics of how these concepts were understood.

A survey of the orientations of 130 Medieval English Village revealed that these orientations did not reflect either the indigenous calendric emphasis on the mid-quarter days or the Greek emphasis on the geometrically determined equinoxes and solstices. Instead these orientations can best be defined in terms of Roman calendric principles, as those principles were elaborated in Medieval computistical texts. This emphasis on locally elaborated Roman calendric principles in the orientation of churches suggests a parallel to the elaboration of Roman astronomical texts found in a range of Carolingian and later astronomical manuscripts. These two strands of evidence suggest that early medieval astronomy owes much more to its Roman heritage than it does to the Romans' Greek sources.

Paul Mills (Utah Valley State College)
“The Corruption of the Ancient Constellations - Hipparchus' Lonely Battle”
Hipparchus' Commentary on the Phaenomena of Aratus and Eudoxus is a futile attempt at stopping the widespread corruption of mathematical astronomy at the time of Hipparchus. In his attempt to restore the corrupted sky figures, Hipparchus presents teachings and concepts unique to himself and gives us diagnostic tools for identifying true Hipparchian cartographies.

Ironically, these tools turned on themselves have revealed many corruptions in his own document, the Commentary, placed there by later scholars, scribes, and editors. In this presentation, I will present the reasons why we (Roger Macfarlane and I) have concluded that the Commentary is not a secure document and must be used with caution.

Mathieu Ossendrijver (Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics, Freiburg, Germany)
“Mathematization and Astronomy in Babylonia”
Mathematical astronomy developed in Babylonia in the 4th c. BC. Its aim was the production of synodic tables for the Moon and the planets using arithmetical schemes, the rules of which are contained in procedure texts. Mathematical problem texts are known mainly from the Old-Babylonian era (1900-1600 BC), while a handful are dated to the Late-Babylonian era (500 BC-100 AD). A comparative analysis of the computational instructions in procedure texts and mathematical problem texts allows us to trace the development of mathematical representation and conceptualization in Babylonia. The Late-Babylonian mathematical formalism marks a clear break with Old-Babylonian mathematics. It is shared by both text groups, but there are interesting differences. These developments, it is argued, were driven by new requirements on mathematical representation arising from the need to formulate the astronomical procedures.

Clive Ruggles (University of Leicester)
“Astronomy at the Meeting of Two Worlds?”
I have taken this title fairly unashamedly from that of a symposium held in Frombork, Poland back in 1992. This brought together “old world” historians of astronomy and “new world” archaeoastronomers in a well-intentioned chronological unity. Yet here, to paraphrase Shaw (or was it Wilde?), were two communities divided by a common theme: for sure, they were addressing different culture areas and evidence of a rather different nature, but the symposium only served to emphasize the extent to which they were asking fundamentally different types of questions and employing totally different methodologies. In terms of theory and practice, they were as far apart as the European prehistorians and the Mayanists who, a decade earlier, had characterized the two sides of the great methodological divide within archaeoastronomy; yet in terms of the nature of the available evidence that had arguably been a much greater gulf, and it had been bridged to a remarkable extent in the meantime.

Are historians of astronomy and what we might call anthropologists of astronomy still as far apart as ever? Does archaeoastronomy have any real insights to offer historians of astronomy, and is the reverse true? To what extent is theoretical and procedural integration possible, beneficial, or even desirable?

My talks on Thursday and after dinner on Saturday will attempt to address these questions at different levels and using examples from different parts of the world.

On Thursday evening I shall attempt to identify some broad issues and general themes, illustrating them with a range of case studies from places in the Old World unfamiliar to many historians of science, including Ethiopia and the Republic of Georgia.

On Saturday I shall get down to some more nitty-gritty issues and use case studies from the Americas and the Pacific.

Clive Ruggles (University of Leicester)
“Astronomy and World Heritage: The UNESCO Initiative and the UK's Involvement”
In July 2005, the World Heritage Council will consider a proposal that has been under development within UNESCO since early in 2004. Under this proposal, relationship to astronomy will be added to the set of criteria under which member nations may propose a cultural property for consideration as a World Heritage Site. This new category is deliberately broad, covering at the one extreme prehistoric sites of particular archaeoastronomical importance and, at the other, historical sites of key importance in the development of modern astronomy. The Royal Astronomical Society in the UK has taken a leading role in this initiative by sponsoring the development of a database system into which details can be entered of properties that might be prime candidates for nomination as World Heritage Sites because of their relationship to astronomy. This introductory talk will attempt to summarize the developments so far and then proceed to discuss some of the broad issues of identification and preservation that are raised by this new UNESCO initiative.

Sara Schechner (Harvard University)
“In Advance of the Wrecking Ball and Dumpster: Museum Efforts to Preserve Astronomical Instruments Large and Small”
This paper will examine the problems of identification, documentation, and preservation of historical instruments and artifacts in observatories and laboratories that are being renovated or decommissioned. The decision on what should be preserved and how this should be accomplished is dependent on many factors, including historical awareness, community politics, the fiscal priorities of the research institution that has operated the laboratory, curatorial sensibilities, and the collection management practices of the recipient museum or archive. Examples will be drawn from my experience as Curator of Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in the recent closing of the Harvard Cyclotron Lab and the plans for the Harvard-Smithsonian Oak Ridge Observatory.

Nathan Sidoli (University of Toronto)
“Menelaus' Theorem in Ptolemy, Theon, and the Early Arabic Tradition”
It is generally assumed that Ptolemy took the theorem upon which he built his spherical trigonometry from Menelaus' Spherics. Neither Ptolemy, nor his commentator Theon, however, makes any mention of Menelaus in this regard. Our text of Menelaus' Spherics is preserved in the Arabic tradition in a number of different translations and editions. In this talk, I examine a number of relevant versions of the Menelaus' theorem and show that the line of transmission cannot have been as straightforward as has previously been thought. In particular, I show that branches of the Arabic tradition contains material that was not available to Ptolemy and Theon as well as material that is most likely based on their work. This investigation prompts us to question the claim that Menelaus was the source of Ptolemy's spherical trigonometry. This work supports the belief that Hipparchus' treatise on simultaneous risings already used metrical methods employing the so-called Menelaus Theorem.

John Steele (University of Durham)
“The Length of the Month in Babylonia during the Late Babylonian Period”
In this talk I will discuss whether the length of the month in the Late Babylonian calendar was determined by observation of the first visibility of the lunar crescent.

John Steele (University of Durham) and Henry Zee (Caeno Foundation)
“Calendars and Years session”
The session looks at the various lengths of the year found in the calendars and astronomies of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, including the 365-day Egyptian year, the 360-day and 364-day years of Mesopotamia and the length of the solar year in late Babylonian astronomy. Much of this is common knowledge, but the basis for this knowledge is often obscure. The origin of the various calendars and years, their period of use and the empirical foundation of our understanding are not widely known. For example, everyone recognizes the 365-day year used by Ptolemy originated in Egypt, but what is the evidence for its use in Egypt, and how far back can the 365-day year be traced in Egyptian history? The papers will review what is known about year lengths in the ancient world (with a particular focus on the sources in which they are attested) along with new research and ideas about how Egyptians and Mesopotamians managed their day-count. This session is sponsored by the Caeno Foundation.

Sarah Symons (University of Leicester)
“A Star's Year: The Annual Cycle in the Ancient Egyptian Sky”
This paper discusses the yearly cycle of a star in the Egyptian sky based on the evidence presented in various types of 'star clocks' and astronomical diagrams. The relationship between these astronomical representations and the civil calendar are explored, including the cycle of updates to the diagonal star clock tables proposed by Neugebauer and Parker.

Christopher Turner (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
“Wovoka's Vision: Total Solar Eclipse Iconography as Found in Plains Indian Ghost Dance Imagery”
Notable astronomical events occasionally have a profound impact on human history. On January 1, 1889, the Paiute Indian Wovoka witnessed a total eclipse of the sun from western Nevada. An unusually large number of such events occurred in this region during Wovoka's early lifetime. His prior shamanic training and the contemporary evangelical movements of his era probably fostered Wovoka's development of a religious revitalization movement as based on spiritual power he ostensibly acquired during his eclipse experience. This presentation looks at the historical particulars of these events, with an eye toward examining the presence of eclipse related iconography in Ghost Dance dresses, robes, and shirts. This largely heuristic effort probably raises more questions than it answers, but underscores the widespread and diverse design elements in human art worldwide that may be related to total eclipse iconography.

Thomas R. Williams (Rice University)
“Preservation of Astronomy's Assets session”
This session will explore the identification, designation and preservation of astronomy's historically important assets, ranging from the largest (an entire observatory or an ancient site that may have archaeoastronomical significance) to the smallest (a tiny spectrographic film strip). Interest in these topics was stimulated by several recent events. UNESCO has undertaken an initiative to add astronomical sites (primarily ancient sites) to their World Heritage Site list, while the University of Chicago has apparently taken a decision to divest at least part of the site at Williams Bay for real estate development. The preservation of smaller assets pose similar and perhaps more difficult problems for administrators and archivists. It is hoped that this session will lead to a draft white paper on the topic that will serve to inform administrators in at least the case of site preservation, and perhaps to the organization of a formal committee in the AAS to promote identification, designation and preservation on a more contiguous basis.

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