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Chicago's Adler Planetarium and Donated Artifacts

Started by curtrenz, 10/21/2007 12:37PM
Posted 10/21/2007 12:37PM Opening Post
On Thursday October 18th I attended the unveiling at the Adler Planetarium of a rare collection of 17th century astro/mechanical books. The pages of the books have rotating wheels that calculate the positions of the planets. Amazing! They were donated by my friend Bob Gordon, who was also an endorser of my financial book. Bob is on Adler’s Executive Committee, but he runs his investment firm in New York. It was great seeing Bob again.

During the reception I spent quite a bit of time with Adler astronomer Larry Ciupik, who had been my guest several times on my TV show. He got a kick out of the astronomical graphics on my website. Adler president Paul Knappenberger, who also had appeared with me on the show, was kind enough to give me a detailed explanation of the books' mechanisms, since we had been in Larry’s office while Bob gave his version. In fact, all Adler staff members were most gracious.

After the reception I attended Adler’s annual Webster Lecture on matters related to historical astronomy. This year the presenter was Prof. James Evans, who discussed Greco-Egyptian astrology. Although forms of divination have been around for many millennia, astrology didn’t rise to prominence until the second century BC. It reached its heights under the influence of Ptolemy in the second century AD, becoming an important aspect of the worldview held by inhabitants of the Roman Empire at that time.

In 1930 the Adler became the first planetarium in the western hemisphere. It was a marvel during my youth. But since then it has expanded to become an incredible showcase for all matters related to astronomy. I heartily recommend a visit to anyone spending time in Chicago. Here’s a link to the Adler’s website: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/home.shtml

For astronomical graphics, including
monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:
CurtRenz.com/astronomical

Curt Renz