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SIR JOHN HERSCHEL
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL
Berkshire, England (1792 - 1871)
Sir John Frederick William Herschel was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, experimental photographer and inventor. The son of astronomer Sir William Herschel, he originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy. He named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Lawrence Krauss

Why I became a cosmologist
Lawrence Krauss - Arizona State University

So my interest initially was in elementary particle physics, the fundamental structure of matter. And what I ultimately realized was that the universe might be the only laboratory that could ultimately tell us about the fundamental structure of matter. And the bridge at that time was dark matter.

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Ed Krupp

Artificial lights and moving to cities
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

People still sense a bond to the sky and itís easy to see it. All you have to do is to go out into a dark sky with someone again, let the stars come out, and theyíre astonished.

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Ed Krupp

Light and shadow at Chichen Itza
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

Over the last couple of decades, an extraordinary amount of worldwide interest has been directed at Chichen Itza in northern Yucatan in Mexico, a late Maya site where the Castillo, or the temple of Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god, seems to develop a pattern of light and shadow on the balustrade of its north stairway in the last hour or so before sunset.

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Ed Krupp

The Copernican Revolution
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

In a sense that transformation of perspective has already occurred. It occurred when we first went into space with the very first satellite, and has continued through our further efforts at exploring space both with instruments and of course with ourselves out there on the moon or in the International Space Station, and whatever is yet to come. That has precipitated major changes in the way that we look at the universe and ourselves.

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Ed Krupp

Galileo and the telescope
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

When Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sky and saw craters on the moon, and moons around Jupiter, and phases of Venus, it changed everything.

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Ed Krupp

Griffith Observatory and IYA2009
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory has been open free to the public since 1935 out of Col. Griffith J. Griffithís desire to see that happen.

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Ed Krupp

Telescopes and the night skies
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

Thereís no question in my mind that we lose something by losing the sky. That was that ability we had to look at the grandest scale of things and that direct experience that creates a nightly emotion in people is now absent from us.

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Ed Krupp

Our relationship with the sky
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

Our ancient and prehistoric ancestors understood that there was a relationship between the rhythms of the sun and the moon and the stars, and what was taking place on earth that prompted them to pay close attention.

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Ed Krupp

Astronomy before telescopes
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

When youíre talking about prehistoric and even ancient astronomy, you run into a problem right away, and that is evidence. This is the unwritten record for the most part and itís difficult to prove anything. You can only get an inkling of what might have been on peopleís minds with respect to the sky by hints that are left in ancient monuments, perhaps like New Grange in Ireland or maybe even Stonehenge in Southern England. Or on the other side of the world, say in a tomb that was built by the first emperor in ancient China.

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Ed Krupp

Modern scientific literacy and critical thought
Ed Krupp - Griffith Observatory

I am not so sure that we are less scientifically literate than we used to be. A lot of this has to do with image and communication as opposed to the real facts.

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