Astrology and Astronomy

Study of the stars and planets, which in the Middle Ages was both science and philosophy

Shakespeare and the Scientific Revolution

Readers of Shakespeare's works could easily dismiss his interest in science at a time when the Scientific Revolution was happening around him, but author Dan Falk believes that the Bard was well aware of the developments.

Polish "glosses" may have been written by Copernicus

Experts are studying the handwriting of scientist Nicolaus Copernicus to determine if recently-discovered glosses, or notes written on the margins, in a book from the library of the Seminary of Warmia Metropolis "Hosianum" in Olsztyn, Poland were written by Copernicus or by someone else.

Randy Bevins: 21st century Viking

Police officer in Whitehall, New York - and member of the SCA - Randy Bevins is going to Mars, or at least he hopes so. Bevins was one of the 1,058 candidates chosen by Mars One, a Dutch non-profit, which plans to land a four-man crew on the planet in 2025. Bill Toscano of the Post Star has the story.

Mars discoveries tweeted in Latin

It's only fitting that Mars, the Roman god of war, would be the subject of NASA's first official venture into the world of Latin social media with photos of the surface of the planet taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Latin captions were sent August 28, 2013 on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

Cornell seminar and lecture series focuses on medieval cosmology

A grant from the Cornell Institute for European Studies has financed a new working group at the university on medieval cosmology. Three scholars, Benjamin Anderson, Courtney Roby and Andrew Hicks, will bring the concept to the campus through a seminar and a series of lectures beginning in September and ending in November 2013.

Viking and NASA collaboration stirs controversy

Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University, was looking for an unusual photo shoot when he connected NASA's Ames Research Center with a local group of Viking re-enactors. The results were amazing photos... and an investigation by a member of the United States Senate.

Viking "compass" may have calculated latitude

In a new study in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A, researcher Balázs Bernáth and his team propose that Viking-era sun compasses, whose "lines don't quite match scientists' interpretations," may have had another purpose: calculating latitude. (photo, diagram)

Honoring Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was honored recently when Google recognized the 450th anniversary of the scientists's birth with a Google Doodle. The Christian Science Monitor followed with a article which looks at the career of the Polish astronomer.

East Kingdom's Coronation

On April 13 in the Barony of Carillion in the East Kingdom, the world ended and the dead walked during the leading up to the Coronation of Gregor IV and Kiena II.

Tycho Brahe not poisoned

For over 400 years, rumours have surrounded the death of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, including one which suggested that Brahe was murdered using mercury by his assistant Johannes Kepler. Now, after two years, evidence from the scientist's exhumed body disproves the theory.

11th century Tibetan statue carved from a meteorite

In a story fit for an Indiana Jones movie, a statue carved by the Bon people of Tibet in the 11th century and excavated by Nazis in the 1930s has been found to be carved from a meteorite that fell to earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

New Moon

If you look at a medieval calendar, you'll see a column containing a seemingly random series of Roman numerals. These actually represent the dates of new moons. Like many things in the early calendar, the values are based on a theoretical value rather than the actual astronomical event.

King Richard II's timepiece found in Australian shed

In the 1970s, children playing in the shed of a Queensland, Australia cattle station happened upon a brass quadrant marked with the badge of King Richard II. Now the instrument is scheduled to be auctioned with an estimated price tag of US$233,000-$311,000. (photo)

Viking sunstone may no longer be the stuff of legend

According to Hrafns Saga in the 13th century, the mighty king used a sunstone to navigate in cloudy weather. This is one of several texts that list such artifacts as among the legendary Norse seafaring abilities. New research suggests that the sunstone may be a real navigational tool.

33rd Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum call for papers

On April 20-21, 2012, Plymouth State University in central New Hampshire, will host the 33rd Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum. The Forum is now accepting abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference.

Final flight of the Endeavour to carry Mary Rose artifact

John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, is sending a piece of history into space: "a parrel, a three-inch wooden ball used as part of the mechanism to hoist the sails of Henry VIII's flagship." The artifact will be launched into orbit with the space shuttle Endeavour. (photos)

Dürer star charts auctioned

On March 30, 2011, the world's oldest printed star charts, created by German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, were auctioned by Sotheby's auction house in London. The woodcuts were first printed in 1515. (photo)

Antikythera mechanism re-created using Lego Technic building set

Two thousand years ago, the Greeks built a mechanical computer to calculate eclipse dates with surprising accuracy. A modern-day historian has created a working replica of the device using Lego Technic building blocks.

Website covers opening of tomb of Tycho Brahe

Aarhus University has created an extensive website covering the 2010 opening of the tomb of 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The site includes photos and video about the project.

Tom Wujec explains the astrolabe

The modern meets the medieval when software designer Tom Wujec explains the astrolabe. The video is available to view on the blog Ted Talks. (video)

"Caucasian Stonehenge" found in Russia

Russian archaeologist Andrey Belinskiy believes he has discovered a "Caucasian Stonehenge" built by a Bronze Age civilization around 1600 BCE. The well-preserved ruins are located in the North Caucasus mountains.

Observatory of Khawja Nasir ad-Din Tusi possibly found in Iran

Archaeologists from the Alamut Castle Research Center in Iran believe they might have discovered the 13th century observatory of polymath Khawja Nasir ad-Din Tusi, who accepted the position of scientific advisor to the Mongols in 1256.

Galileo's fingers on display in Florence

Two of Galileo's fingers were discovered during rennovations at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. The remains are currently on display along with Galileo's famous telescope.

Tycho Brahe to be exhumed

A November exhumation is planned to try to discover the true cause of Tycho Brahe's death. Since a 1901 analysis discovered mercury in a sample of his beard, some have believed the astronomer, "more famous in death than he ever was in life," was murdered.

New da Vinci code predicts end of the world

Vatican researcher Sabrina Sforza Galitzia believes that Leonardo da Vinci worked out a code predicting the world to end on November 1, 4006.

Astrolabe: "world's first popular computer"

Author and software designer Tom Wujec takes a step back in time to discuss the medieval astrolabe. The video and transcript of the discussion is available on the TED website.

500 years of astronomy at Texas museum

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, will present Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works through January 3, 2010. The exhibit will showcase "some of the most important astronomical discoveries of the last 500 years."

Scholars hope to give John Dee a make-over

For centuries, John Dee, royal wizard to Queen Elizabeth I, has gotten a bad rap. Now a group of scholars wants to restore his image by showcasing his accomplishments. The group met in September, 2009 in Cambridge for a two-day conference.

Astrolabe for the iPhone

Feeling the need to navigate by the stars -- with the help of your cell phone? Then the Astrolabe for the iPhone™ is just the applet for you!

Remains of Copernicus finally identified

After two centuries, scientists believe that they have found the final resting place of Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy. They also believe he had blue eyes.