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Mapping the Night: Make Your Own Astrolabe with Don Jolley

December 29, 2018 @ 7:00 pm



// Saturday, December 29 / 7 PM / Meets Monthly
/ $300 Members / $365 General Admission / COURSE IS FULL

A year-long program for adults, beginners welcome. No experience necessary! Limited to 10 participants. Beginning Saturday, December 29 with monthly evening meetings set relative to the new moon and weather.

In addition to inspiring awe, the night sky has served as clock and calendar for centuries. Since antiquity, any learned scholar could tell time and date based on the observed positions of stars, aided by use of an astrolabe. But modern conveniences have pushed aside the need to read the night sky, and as a consequence few among us are familiar with any but the brightest stars or constellations.

In this year-long project, participants will reacquaint themselves with the night sky by constructing their own astrolabe. Accompanied by science teacher Don Jolley, we’ll meet monthly under the stars to identify and chart the seasonal constellations. Gradually, our drawings will accumulate into a working model of the cosmos as seen from Earth. As our astrolabes evolve, we’ll learn to identify the change of seasons as marked by signs of the zodiac. We’ll learn what makes for solstices and equinoxes, and why and how the Moon cycles through phases. We’ll better understand why eclipses happen (but usually don’t), and what exactly occurs when planets “go retrograde.” We’ll dabble in geometry, mythology, and astrology, and meander down any path our dalliance in the arts and sciences may present. Most importantly, we’ll come to know the stars as familiar faces in the ever-turning cycle we call a year. The project culminates with an museum exhibition of our completed astrolabes in January 2020.


December 29, 2018
7:00 pm