Astronomical Clock Quotes

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Astronomers at the University of Bullshitshire have just found new evidence that, yes, teenagers really are the center of the universe.’ 
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
PLANETARIUM Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750–1848) astronomer, sister of William; and others. A woman in the shape of a monster a monster in the shape of a woman the skies are full of them a woman ‘in the snow among the Clocks and instruments or measuring the ground with poles’ in her 98 years to discover 8 comets she whom the moon ruled like us levitating into the night sky riding the polished lenses Galaxies of women, there doing penance for impetuousness ribs chilled in those spaces of the mind An eye, ‘virile, precise and absolutely certain’ from the mad webs of Uranusborg encountering the NOVA every impulse of light exploding from the core as life flies out of us Tycho whispering at last ‘Let me not seem to have lived in vain’ What we see, we see and seeing is changing the light that shrivels a mountain and leaves a man alive Heartbeat of the pulsar heart sweating through my body The radio impulse pouring in from Taurus I am bombarded yet I stand I have been standing all my life in the direct path of a battery of signals the most accurately transmitted most untranslatable language in the universe I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo- luted that a light wave could take 15 years to travel through me And has taken I am an instrument in the shape of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind.
Adrienne Rich (Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970)
Nearly a Valediction" You happened to me. I was happened to like an abandoned building by a bull- dozer, like the van that missed my skull happened a two-inch gash across my chin. You were as deep down as I’ve ever been. You were inside me like my pulse. A new- born flailing toward maternal heartbeat through the shock of cold and glare: when you were gone, swaddled in strange air I was that alone again, inventing life left after you. I don’t want to remember you as that four o’clock in the morning eight months long after you happened to me like a wrong number at midnight that blew up the phone bill to an astronomical unknown quantity in a foreign currency. The U.S. dollar dived since you happened to me. You’ve grown into your skin since then; you’ve grown into the space you measure with someone you can love back without a caveat. While I love somebody I learn to live with through the downpulled winter days’ routine wakings and sleepings, half-and-half caffeine- assisted mornings, laundry, stock-pots, dust- balls in the hallway, lists instead of longing, trust that what comes next comes after what came first. She’ll never be a story I make up. You were the one I didn’t know where to stop. If I had blamed you, now I could forgive you, but what made my cold hand, back in prox- imity to your hair, your mouth, your mind, want where it no way ought to be, defined by where it was, and was and was until the whole globed swelling liquefied and spilled through one cheek’s nap, a syllable, a tear, was never blame, whatever I wished it were. You were the weather in my neighborhood. You were the epic in the episode. You were the year poised on the equinox.
Marilyn Hacker (Winter Numbers: Poems)
If all astronomical processes cease, how will the passage of time manifest itself? It is doubtful if vacuum fluctuations can provide a clock for the recording of time. Will time itself come to a stop? Is this a meaningful question? Such questions are difficult to answer.
Jamal Nazrul Islam (The Ultimate Fate of the Universe)
I'd heard it said before that Prague was a fairy-tale city. Watson repeated it now as we made our slow progression in from the airport. Steepled roofs, pastel buildings, cobbled roads an switchbacks. An astronomical clock that stood stories high in a public square. I'd been there once before with Milo when we were children. Our Aunt Araminta had decided we needed "culturing". I think she may have mistaken us for bacteria.
Brittany Cavallaro (The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes, #2))
The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote. Nevertheless, it has been found that there are apparent exceptions to most of these laws, and this is particularly true when the observations are pushed to a limit, i.e., whenever the circumstances of experiment are such that extreme cases can be examined. Such examination almost surely leads, not to the overthrow of the law, but to the discovery of other facts and laws whose action produces the apparent exceptions. As instances of such discoveries, which are in most cases due to the increasing order of accuracy made possible by improvements in measuring instruments, may be mentioned: first, the departure of actual gases from the simple laws of the so-called perfect gas, one of the practical results being the liquefaction of air and all known gases; second, the discovery of the velocity of light by astronomical means, depending on the accuracy of telescopes and of astronomical clocks; third, the determination of distances of stars and the orbits of double stars, which depend on measurements of the order of accuracy of one-tenth of a second-an angle which may be represented as that which a pin's head subtends at a distance of a mile. But perhaps the most striking of such instances are the discovery of a new planet or observations of the small irregularities noticed by Leverrier in the motions of the planet Uranus, and the more recent brilliant discovery by Lord Rayleigh of a new element in the atmosphere through the minute but unexplained anomalies found in weighing a given volume of nitrogen. Many other instances might be cited, but these will suffice to justify the statement that 'our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.
Albert Abraham Michelson
She pictures herself in early 1939, aged nine, standing in front of the astronomical clock in Prague’s Old Town Hall square. She’s sneaking a peek at the old skeleton. It keeps watch over the rooftops of the city with huge empty eye sockets. They’d told them at school that the clock was a piece of mechanical ingenuity, invented by Maestro Hanuš more than five hundred years ago. But Dita’s grandmothers told her a darker story. The king ordered Hanuš to construct a clock with figures, automatons that paraded on the stroke of every hour. When it was completed, the king ordered his bailiffs to blind the clockmaker so that he could never make another wonder like it. But the clockmaker took revenge, putting his hand into the mechanism to disable it. The cogs shredded his hand, the mechanism jammed, and the clock was broken, unfixable for years. Sometimes Dita had nightmares about that amputated hand snaking its way around the serrated wheels of the mechanism. Dita,
Antonio Iturbe (The Librarian of Auschwitz: Based on the True Story of Dita Kraus)
I can't get over the fact that Descartes compared the human body to a machine or an automaton." "The comparison was based on the fact that people in his time were deeply fascinated by machines and the workings of clocks, which appeared to have the ability to function of their own accord. The word 'automaton' means precisely that -- something that moves of its own accord. It was obviously only an illusion that they moved of their own accord. An astronomical clock, for instance, is both constructed and wound up by human hands. Descartes made a point of the fact that ingenious inventions of that kind were actually assembled very simply from a relatively small number of parts compared with the vast number of bones, muscles, nerves, veins and arteries that the human and the animal body consists of. Why should God not be able to make an animal or a human body based on mechanical laws?" "Nowadays there is a lot of talk about 'artificial intelligence'." "Yes, that is the automaton of our time...
Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World)
He found a location in the north of the island from where to view the transit, but it was too late to build a proper observatory. Instead he placed some big boulders in a circle and constructed a small hut to house the instruments. It was so crudely built that it gave little protection from wind, dust and animals. The instruments had already suffered from the long sea voyage with some ‘eaten by rust’, Pingré moaned, hectically polishing and greasing them with turtle oil, the only lubricant available. Over the next days, the French astronomer prepared his instruments and observed the movements of Jupiter’s satellites at night in order to set the clock – an enterprise that was sabotaged by the rats that chewed through one of the pendulums. At
Andrea Wulf (Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens)
The first experimental determination that the speed of light was not infinite was made by the seventeenth-century Danish astronomer, Ole Romer. In 1676, Romer was attempting to solve one of the great scientific and engineering challenges of the age; telling the time at sea. Finding an accurate clock was essential to enable sailors to navigate safely across the oceans, but mechanical clocks based on pendulums or springs were not good at being bounced around on the ocean waves and soon drifted out of sync. In order to pinpoint your position on Earth you need the latitude and longitude. Latitude is easy; in the Northern Hemisphere, the angle of the North Star (Polaris) above the horizon is your latitude. In the Southern Hemisphere, things are more complicated because there is no star directly over the South Pole, but it is still possible with a little astronomical know-how and trigonometry to determine your latitude with sufficient accuracy for safe navigation.
Brian Cox (Wonders of the Universe)
Thinking of the hour as a consistent measure was not a familiar concept for most people, while the minute and second didn’t exist as common units. (The division of the hour into 60 minutes and the minute into 60 seconds comes from the Babylonians, who used a base-60, or sexagecimal, system of counting for their astronomy. The ancient Greeks later adopted this and divided circular astronomical maps into 360 divisions, which were later transposed on to clock faces.)
James Vincent (Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants)
A = T ± U T stands for the time by the clock at which the star crossed the meridian. A is the right ascension of the star, and U is the correction of the clock. Use the + sign in the equation whenever the clock is too slow, and the - sign when it is too fast. U may be found from this equation when A and T are given, or A may be found when T and U are given. It is in this way that astronomers measure the right ascensions of the stars and planets.
George C. Comstock (A Text-Book of Astronomy)
There is every indication that the ancient Egyptians wanted to draw our attention to the Sphinx. They wanted us to understand that it is an astronomical clock whose dial was the four steady reference points, the Four Guardians. The Four Guardians, or as they came to be known in the Christian Era of Pisces, was also called the Four Royal Stars, or the Archangel Stars. ❖ Michael - Aldebaran – the guardian of the eastern sky as it predates the vernal equinox. ❖ Raphael - Regulus (in Leo) – the guardian of the northern sky, as it pre-announces the summer solstice. ❖ Uriel - Antares (in Scorpio) – the guardian of the western sky, as it predates the autumn equinox ❖ Gabriel - Fomalhaut – the guardian of the southern sky, as it pre-announces the winter solstice.
Rico Roho (Aquarius Rising: Christianity and Judaism Explained Using the Science of the Stars)
… he is coming visibly under the influence of another idea, which was somehow gaining a hold upon the European mind: the idea of mechanism. As historians of science have pointed out, this conception was already beginning to express itself during the fourteenth century in the form of a remarkable craze for the construction of gigantic astronomical clocks. ‘No European community felt able to hold up its head unless in its midst the plants wheeled in cycles and epicycles, while angels trumpeted, cocks crew, and apostles, kings and prophets marched and counter-marched at the booming of the hours… by the seventeenth century the concept of a ‘clockwork universe’ had become very much a part of the European intellectual scene, and was exercising a considerable scientific influence. [22]
Wolfgang Smith (Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief)