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Samos, Grecia (//310 BC - //ca. 230 BC)
Aristarchus was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born on the island of Samos, in Greece. He was the first person to present an explicit argument for a heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe (hence he is sometimes known as the "Greek Copernicus").

Some days (or rather nights!) weather conditions prevent us from going outside to look up and view celestial wonders with a telescope or the unaided eye. If a cloudy or rainy night has you stuck inside, you can turn your attention to some allied pursuits that will entertain and increase your appreciation for the universe. We offer you two resource guides for ideas here.

  • Many of the astronomical ideas and breakthroughs described in 400 Years of the Telescope have inspired science fiction writers as well as PBS viewers. In this guide, we list a few fun science fiction stories on the topics discussed in the show -- stories that work out reasonable scientific ideas in human terms. (Note: This is not a complete list, but just a selection of favorite stories to whet your appetite.)

    Download this listing of Science Fiction with Good Astronomy here: PDF

  • Connections between astronomy and other areas of human culture are easily found in music, where astronomical ideas have found a wide range of expression. The selection of music discussed below is not a comprehensive listing, but just a sampling of some of the pieces that are available on CD's, and that may be of particular interest to astronomy enthusiasts.

    To qualify for the list, a piece (or the composer's vision for it) has to include some real science and not just an astronomical term in the title or in a few lyrics. For example, we do not list The Planets, by Gustav Holst, since it treats the astrological view of the planets. And we regret that Philip Glass' opera Galileo is not available on CD and therefore cannot be listed. Nor do we include the thousands of popular songs that use the moon or the stars for an easy rhyme or a quick romantic image. And, while many jazz pieces have astronomy in the title, it is often hard to know just how the piece and the astronomy go together; so we've sadly omitted jazz too.

    Download this resource guide for Music Inspired by Astronomy here: PDF




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