Celestial Sleuth: Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, by Donald W. Olson

By Donald W. Olson

For a normal viewers attracted to fixing mysteries in artwork, historical past, and literature utilizing the equipment of technology, 'forensic astronomy' is an exhilarating new box of exploration. Astronomical calculations are the root of the stories, that have the good thing about bringing to readers either evocative photos and a greater knowing of the skies.

Weather proof, volcano reports, topography, tides, historic letters and diaries, well-known work, army documents, and the pleasant suggestions of specialists in comparable fields upload type, intensity, and curiosity to the paintings. the selected issues are chosen for his or her broad public popularity and intrigue, regarding artists similar to Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, and Ansel Adams; old occasions corresponding to the conflict of Marathon, the demise of Julius Caesar, the yankee Revolution, and global struggle II; and literary authors akin to Chaucer, Shakespeare, Joyce, and Mary Shelley. This booklet units out to reply to those mysteries indicated with the ability and services of astronomy, beginning the door to a richer event of human tradition and its courting with nature.

Each topic is punctiliously analyzed. for instance utilizing the examine of sky work by means of Vincent van Gogh, the analytical strategy would come with:
- desktop calculations of historic skies above France within the nineteenth century
- discovering and quoting the clues present in translations of unique letters by means of Van Gogh
- making web site visits to France to figure out the appropriate destinations while Van Gogh arrange his easel and what celestial items are depicted.

For each one ancient occasion stimulated through astronomy, there will be a distinct form of secret to be solved. for example:
- How can the part of the Moon and time of moonrise support to give an explanation for a turning aspect of the yank Civil battle - the deadly wounding of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville in 1863?

For each one literary connection with astronomy, it was firm which celestial gadgets have been being defined and making a controversy that the writer is describing a precise occasion. for instance, what was once the date of the moonlit scene whilst Mary Shelley first had the belief for her novel “Frankenstein?”

These and extra enjoyable riddles will enchant and enjoyment the fan of paintings and astronomy.

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Additional info for Celestial Sleuth: Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, History and Literature

Sample text

The townspeople warmly welcomed our group to Auvers, where municipal officials, the staff at the tourism office, and many other residents went out of their way to help us. After dividing into groups of two or three, we walked along every street and studied the windows, chimneys, walls, and gates of houses for miles in each direction from the center of town. 2), the town hall, cottages, gardens and wheat fields. 3) on the south side of the main road. The house, with modern address 25/27 Rue du Général de Gaulle, stands only two blocks west of the Auberge Ravoux, the inn where Vincent resided in June 1890.

3 In this photograph from May 2000, the setting Sun obliquely illuminates the north-facing front of the white house (25/27 Rue du Général de Gaulle), while leaving the left side of the house in shadow. Visitors to Auvers-sur-Oise can still recognize the White House at Night site here despite changes to the roof and the modern building at the far right (Photograph by Russell Doescher. Used with permission) who helped to care for Vincent during his stay in Auvers. According to Paul Gachet, the white house went by the name Villa Ponceaux and served as the Victorine residence, the home of a local merchant (Gachet 1994: 140).

W. Turner’s Night Sky Over a Snowy Road At the Royal Academy Exhibition in the summer of 1829 the British artist J. M. W. Turner exhibited a watercolor depicting a stagecoach accident on a snowy mountain road in southeastern France, with a night sky overhead. The sky above the mountain includes the Moon and several bright stars or planets. On what date did this stagecoach accident occur? Do meteorological observations from 1829 mention a snowstorm on this date? Did Turner paint the Moon in the appropriate lunar phase for that date?

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