Satellite Zodiac

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Mapping Virtual Skies

Presentation Title:

  • Satellite Zodiac

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Stars are decorations of the night sky. The contemporary cultural framework has always provided a way of interpreting them. This pattern interpretation led to the so called modern (western) constellations. The majority of which depict animals (Aries, Aquila, Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Pisces, Canis Major, Canis Minor, and so forth), followed by Roman, Greek and Babylonian mythological characters (Andromeda, Aquarius, Auriga, Hercules, Pegasus, Perseus, Orion, Virgo and others). The third biggest group of constellations are man-made machines – pieces of technology like the arrow (Sagitta), the triangle (Triangulum), the balance (Libra) and the lyre (Lyra). But there are also more curious ones like a ships keel (Carina), poop deck (Puppis) and its sails (Vela), an air pump (Antlia), a pair of compasses (Circinus), a carpenter’s level (Norma), a mariner’s octant (Octans), and compass (Pyxis), a eyepiece graticule (Reticulum), a telescope (Telescopium), a pendulum clock (Horologium), a microscope (Microscopium), a chemical furnace (Fornax), a sculptors chisel (Caelum) and a painter’s easel (Pictor). Those constellations were given names by the French theologian and scientist Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713-1763) during an astronomical expedition to study the southern heavens at the Cape of Good Hope. When Lacaille looked up to the nightly firmament he saw the high-tech equipment of artists, craftsmen, seafarer and scientists of his time. Like a Rorschach test he made his sense of the patterns in the sky according to his conditioning.

    Full text (PDF) p. 274-275

Venue(s):


Category: