Archive for the 'Astronomy' Category



Poems in the heavens

The Great Comet of 1577, from a contemporary woodcut by Jiri Daschitzsky. [Source: The Galileo Project]

The Great Comet of 1577, from a contemporary woodcut by Jiri Daschitzsky. [Source: The Galileo Project]

Poetry is an ancient art, certainly predating written language. From the beginning, poets have described and wondered about the heavens: stars, planets, and the rarer transient events: eclipses, comets, meteors. And as our knowledge about the Universe has broadened, poetic descriptions have changed too. Sometimes studying the Universe can make us feel small, but poetry can be a way to regain perspective.

Starting next week, astrophysicists Karen Knierman and Patrick Young will join poet Marco Dominguez to offer a class on astronomy, poetry, and their deep connection in human culture from antiquity through today. As director of CosmoAcademy, I’m very pleased to invite you to join in:

Astronomy has played a role in human culture for thousands of years and appears in literature from every era.  We can see not only the influence of the heavens on our writings, but also the influence of language itself on our conception of astronomy. Heralding the dawn of the International Year of Light in 2015, join us now to explore how light from the stars has been important to humans for millennia.  We will begin with Gilgamesh and Homer, and continue through Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and into contemporary music and literature.  Along the way, we will also examine how the structure of language has influenced the perception of astronomical phenomena. [Find out more…]

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