Constellation minimalism from the always-great hydrogeneportfolio:
“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
How the Chinese and the Greeks viewed (pretty much) the same sky.
It’s pretty remarkable how differently two cultures can connect the same dots, don’t you think?
(maps via radical cartography)
Stunning celestial maps from 1825, based on Ancient Greek mythology.
Fun fact: In various cultures past and present, the ubiquitous “Big Dipper” constellation (or “asterism” to be more accurate) was interpreted not only as part of a bear, but also as …
Perspective is everything.
A visualization of the constellations in a three dimensional shell
Our place in the universe is nothing special, physically speaking. We’re in the outer realm of an arm of a fairly average galaxy, and thanks to our particular location in space we are given a very particular perspective on all our stellar neighbors.
As we stare into the night sky, the stars above us appear as if painted on a dark canvas, this one next to this one, a little bigger, a little brighter than that one. And like dots on a page, humans have projected images onto those patterns, called constellations. But of course the stars are not painted on a canvas. They are near and far, a spattering of spheres in a three-dimensional web (which we explored a couple weeks ago in this awesome 3-D constellation visualization). If you ever need an argument against astrology, it’s that Earth’s place in the universe is no more special than any other planet’s, likewise with the pattern of dots we see in the sky.
Santiago Ortiz has created the interactive model above of the constellations as if they were painted on a sphere surrounding Earth. I recommend checking it out (can you identify any constellations?). Is this what it would be like if the universe were The Truman Show? Is this what it would be like if there were gods looking in on us?
Moon, Venus, Mars, and constellation globes available for purchase at Greenwood Space Travel Supply.
(via: Super Punch)
More holiday gift ideas for the cartographer/planetophile in your life.
I'm Joe Hanson, Ph.D. biologist and host/writer of PBS Digital Studios' It's Okay To Be Smart. Check out my "Episode Extras" here. There's a lot of amazing science out there. Let's go discover it together.
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