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Arcada Fog

December 17th, 2009
From Garth von Ahnen's Arcada Fog

On the Shoulders of Giants: from Garth von Ahnen's Arcada Fog

Adriane Steinacker teaches one of the few undergraduate-level History of Astronomy courses in the country as part of our UCSC atronomy curriculum. She sent me this Youtube link to the work of one of her students — Garth von Ahnen — who is majoring in art and minoring in astronomy.

Garth has made a remarkable video confection that weaves together an interpretation (with artistic license) of the historical trajectory by which the planetary orbits came to be understood. You’ve simply gotta watch it! In Garth’s words:

All Characters, Events, Places and Various Concepts of the structure of the Solar System are entirely non-fictitious. Any similarity to real or once real Characters, Events, Places, Concepts or Mooses are not coincidence, but both purposeful and slanderous, based on historically accurate hearsay, innuendo and exaggeration, except for Newton using a hoolah hoop, which never actually happened according to anyone.

The piece is far richer than the worn-out versions presented in the Astronomy 101 textbooks. I’ll admit I had to consult the wikipedia for the back story on Jost B├╝rgi. The original source of Tycho Brahe’s Pet Moose, who comes from left-field to play a starring role in von Ahnen’s version of events, is Pierre Gassendi’s 1654 biography Tycho Brahe, the man and his work (original in Latin).

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