Stargazing

Thousands of years ago, people started measuring the stars and Sun. We know this because of monuments like Stonehenge and the pyramids, which were built in line with the Sun or stars. The position of the stars have been shown on many types of maps, from accurate scientific instruments to artistic drawings of the constellations. This selection is from the National Museums Scotland collection, many of which can be seen in the Earth in Space gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.
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Unsigned painting, Portrait of Alexander Dalrymple, first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty, full length, in his East India Company sea-officer's uniform, seated at a tripod table pointing at a Blaeu globe of 1648, a map of Friesland and a pair of dividers and two hydrographic charts, oil on canvas in wooden frame with applied decoration, attributed to John Thomas Seton, c. 1765

Unsigned painting, Portrait of Alexander Dalrymple, first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty, full length, in his East India Company sea-officer's uniform, seated at a tripod table pointing at a Blaeu globe of 1648, a map of Friesland and a pair of dividers and two hydrographic charts, oil on canvas in wooden frame with applied decoration, attributed to John Thomas Seton, c. 1765

14 astronomical photographic plates, duplicated from originals taken by the UK Schmidt telescope in Australia, duplicated at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, 1973 - 1988

14 astronomical photographic plates, duplicated from originals taken by the UK Schmidt telescope in Australia, duplicated at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, 1973 - 1988

Celestial globe by Blaeu

Celestial globe by Blaeu

Celestial globe, on a table stand with four legs, by W. Bardin, Fleet Street, London, 1785

Celestial globe, on a table stand with four legs, by W. Bardin, Fleet Street, London, 1785

18-inch silvered glass telescope speculum by George With, 1878.

18-inch silvered glass telescope speculum by George With, 1878.

James Gregory was a contemporary of Isaac Newton, both often worked simultaneously on similar projects. Gregory published an innovative design for a ‘reflecting’ telescope in 1663.

James Gregory was a contemporary of Isaac Newton, both often worked simultaneously on similar projects. Gregory published an innovative design for a ‘reflecting’ telescope in 1663.

4 1/2 inch reflecting telescope, by James Short of Edinburgh, 1737

4 1/2 inch reflecting telescope, by James Short of Edinburgh, 1737

2 1/4 inch reflecting telescope of brass, made by James Short of London, c. 1765

2 1/4 inch reflecting telescope of brass, made by James Short of London, c. 1765

Urania's Mirror, or a View of the Heavens, one of a set of thirty-two engraved and hand-coloured tissue-backed celestial charts for educational use by novice astronomers, engraved by Sidney Hall and published by Samuel Leigh, London, c. 1823, entitled 'The constellations Lacerta, Cygnus, Lyra, Vulpecula and Anser'

Urania's Mirror, or a View of the Heavens, one of a set of thirty-two engraved and hand-coloured tissue-backed celestial charts for educational use by novice astronomers, engraved by Sidney Hall and published by Samuel Leigh, London, c. 1823, entitled 'The constellations Lacerta, Cygnus, Lyra, Vulpecula and Anser'

Working model of an orrery according to Copernicus, showing the planets with their satellites revolving round the sun, the whole being enclosed in a glass globe, by Sendtner, Munich, 1913

Working model of an orrery according to Copernicus, showing the planets with their satellites revolving round the sun, the whole being enclosed in a glass globe, by Sendtner, Munich, 1913

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