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In: Selene's Two Faces
In: Selene's Two Faces

Abstract

This paper explores how the idea of discovery in astronomy gained a footing in the production and use of planetary models. It focuses on the period 1780–1850, during which the number of known bodies in the solar system increased concomitantly with a growing market for didactic instruments and toys. Specific examples of tridimensional models are discussed, in order to illustrate two main themes: the orrery as a changeable planetary model open to the choices of consumers and users, and the development of the armillary sphere from its original Ptolemaic configuration to a Copernican design suitable to incorporate newly found orbs. It is argued that the idea of discovery as applied to the realm of educational planetary models entailed marketing advantages, but also raised issues of credibility and posed challenges concerning the exactness, functionality, and actuality of models.

In: Nuncius
From 17th Century Drawings to Spacecraft Imaging
If any scientific object has over the course of human history aroused the fascination of both scientists and artists worldwide, it is beyond doubt the moon. The moon is also by far the most interesting celestial body when it comes to reflecting on the dualistic nature of photography as applied to the study of the universe. Against this background, Selene’s Two Faces sets out to look at the scientific purpose, aesthetic expression, and influence of early lunar drawings, maps and photographs, including spacecraft imaging. In its approach, Selene’s Two Faces is intermedial, intercultural and interdisciplinary. It brings together not only various media (photography, maps, engravings, lithographs, globes, texts), and cultures (from Europe, America and Asia), but also theoretical perspectives.

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