Posted On May 13, 2001

1000 years of the art and science of Astronomy

ON April 15th my wife and I went for a little different Easter experience.
I had seen references to an exhibition at the Huntington Library about Astronomy. So I first went checking out their web-site to see if I thought it would be interesting.

Check out

The Huntington Library is well known for it collection of rare books - and the summary really got me interested.

"......showcases approximately 120 rare books and manuscripts from The Huntington's collection. Included are works by Ptolemy, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Hubble, Einstein and others"

I don't know about you - but it never ceases to amaze me just how lucky we are today - in our access to incredible technologies - and information - which allow us to view the heavens in ways that merely a few hundreds of years ago would seem to be magical. What we now know to be the workings of the universe would have branded us as heretics.

Viewing the original works of Astronomical history somehow manages to instill an immense respect for these great and brave people of our past.

In addition to the really famous names mentioned above - there are also extracts from Edwin Hubbles very notes which indicate his discovery of Cepheid Variable stars in Andromeda Galaxy (or as it was then - the Andromeda Nebula). This was the very point at which we truly started to understand the scale of the universe - and it happened right here in our own "back-yard".

Somehow I could picture Hubble writing the notes in his log-book and the utter excitement he must have been feeling. Seeing such personal artifacts brings into focus - for me at least - that this science of ours is and always will be about the people who are involved with it. It is not about the technology - but always about scientists, astronomers and you and me.

I would highly recommend you visit this exhibit while you can. It ends on May 13th - don't miss your chance.