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The Noyes Armillary Sphere Described In The Historic American Buildngs Survey #532
|| 2/9/2010 || 2:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

National Park Service Photograph of the Noyes Armillary Sphere in Meridian Hill Park in the District of Columbia taken in the 1965

National Park Service Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress

According to page 39 of the Historic American Buildngs Survey #532 published in 1987 [PDF via the Library of Congress]:

The sculpture which contributed most sucessfully to the architectural design [of Meridian Hill Park] was the 6′ high armillary sphere. Money for the construction of the sphere was donated by Bertha Noyes, a well-known Washington artist and founder of the Washington Arts Club, in memory of her father and her sister. Paul Manship had constructed a model for an earlier proposal for an armillary sphere. For lack of funds, that sphere was not realized, later when the Noyes Armillary Sphere was constructed by Carl Paul Jennewein, he based his design on the earlier Manship model. The sphere was located in the exedra on axis with the cascade, south of the reflecting pool. This location was proposed by Ferruccio Vitale, and the foundation was designed by Horace W. Peaslee. Congress approved the location within Meridian Hill Park on June 10, 1932, subject to the final approval of its location within the park by the Commission. The sphere, which was of great interest conceptually as well as visually, was described by historian James Goode as follows:

In spite of its seemingly contemporary design, the armillary sphere is, in face, an ancient astrological instrument. The armillary sphere was frequently used in Europe in the seventeenth century to illustrate the Ptolemaic theory of a central earth; it used metal rings which illustrated the nine spheres of the universe. The usual device, a skeleton of the celestial globe with circles arranged into degrees for angle measurement, represents the great circles of the heavens. The latter includes the horizon, meridian, equator, tropics, and polar circle. The Noyes Armillary Sphere includes a series of bronze rings on which are also found the symbols of the zodiac and the hours, given in Roman numerals. A bronze arrow forms the axis, and, in the center, a small winged genie greets the sun. (James M. Goode, The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974)

The armillary sphere suffered serious damage during the late 1960s and was removed for repair. Its whereabouts is presently unknown. The armillary sphere was worked in bronze, and placed on a green granite pedestal. Other significant park embellishments were wrought in iron. For example, at the north end of the park, a wrought-iron fence is decorated with small armillary spheres, reflecting the significance of the Noyes Armillary Sphere.


This article and photograph was obtained from the Library of Congress and is in the public domain. They are being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to advocate for a replacement armillary sphere in Meridian Hill Park.



The Precessional Pentagram of Venus
|| 9/7/2008 || 11:20 pm || Comments Off on The Precessional Pentagram of Venus || ||

Successive inferior conjunctions of Venus occur about 1.6 Earth years apart and
create a pattern of precessing pentagrams, due to a near 13:8 orbital resonance
(the Earth orbits nearly 8 times for every 13 orbits of Venus).

Was reading about Transits of Venus and came across this graphic on Wikipedia. What a beautiful celestial design.


Related Space Entries:

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The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained
|| 8/7/2008 || 1:59 pm || Comments Off on The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained || ||

The other day I posted the Analemma featured on Bowles 1780 Map of the World. Today I am posting another ancillary chart from the map that I thought was interesting. It is called the Vicissitude of the Seasons and it explains the nature of the seasons in a given year. Vicissitude means “a state of being changeable or in flux; the rise and decline of a phenomenon,” and the transcribed chart below is the explains how the Earth slowly goes from Summer to Spring. I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons lately and I have been working on a new map to address their change over time.

In this Diagram S represent the Sun, A XII BXII the Earth as moving round the Sun in the plane of the Ecliptic, according to the Order of the Signs Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc. P is the North Pole, C the Arctic Circle, T the Tropic of Cancer, E the Equator, AXIIB the enlightened half of the Earth, where it is Day. BXIIA the darkened half where it is Night and BCA is the boundary of light & darkness. The Earth’s position with respect to the Sun is here shewn at the beginning of Ecliptic and here tis plain that the Earth moves through the Signs Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces (which is from the 21st of March till the 23 of September) the North Pole P is constantly enlightened, and the Northern Places have their days longer than their Nights. But as the Earth proceeds through Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo (which is from the 23rd of September till the 21st of March, the North Pole is constantly in the Dark and the Northern places have their Nights longer their Days.

Thus, supposing the Circle, L to be parallel of Latitude of London, we perceive that a greater part of it is in the Light than in the Dark from the 21st of March to the 23rd of September and the contrary from the 23rd of September till the 21st of March. On these two days it is just half in the light and half in the dark which shews the Days and Nights to be equally long. On the 21st of June it is most of all in the light, which shews that its days are then at the longest and on the 21st of December it is least of all in the light which shews its days are then at the shortest. The like to be understood of any other place situated in the Northern Hemisphere whilst the reverse happens to those in the Southern. But at each Pole there is only one Day and one Night in the whole Year. N.B. In whatever part of the Ecliptic the Earth is in, as seen from the Sun, the Sun is then the opposite part thereof as seen from the Earth.


I think I might use the graphic on the cover of next year’s calendars. Its very similar to the zodiac in Battista Agnese‘s Portolan atlas from 1544 that I used on last year’s calendars.



Related Zodiac Entries:

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A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
|| 5/23/2008 || 10:43 am || Comments Off on A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden || ||


:: saved at 6,480 x 5,040 ::

To celebrate the new procedure I decided to get around to editing the Library of Congress‘ copy of Willem Janszoon Blaeu‘s Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula, which was published in Amsterdam in 1606. I removed the original map from the center and kept the decorative border similar to Nova et Accvratissima Totivs Terrarvm Orbis Tabvla, A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe : according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art, America as a Cloverleaf, and A New And Accurate Map of the World by John Speed. However, unlike the previous antique map mash-ups, which usually feature the earth laid out in two hemispheres, this map uses a rectangular space (Mercator?). The beauty of this open layout is that I can place any of my previously made maps inside of this 402-year-old template.

A common naming practice I’ve noticed in old map is the use of “New & Accurate” and since I like to play around with words, I changed Accurate to Arabesque to create a visual pun. The source map was about 6,500 pixels wide, I underlaid a rotated 9,000 x 6,000 copy of Hirshhorn Quilt to fit perfectly in the center of the new map. I think it would be fun to actually hand-color the engravings on this map to match other copies of this map which have the various figures colored in. The LOC’s copy is uncolored which means that its actually easier to add color to it than if it were already colored because pigment matching is not needed.



: detail of the planet Goddess Venus :

Across the top (left to right) you have the planet gods:

Drawn within each of these engravings are the signs of the Zodiac that the planets rule:

Below I dissect the rest of the border of the map:

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Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis – Analemma with the Parthenon
|| 4/1/2008 || 2:28 pm || Comments Off on Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis – Analemma with the Parthenon || ||

Following up on my antique sundials posting, I just came across this stunning photography by Anthony Ayiomamitis that shows the sun’s yearly orbit seen from a stationary points around various ancient ruins in Greece. The figure 8 design that the sun creates is called an Analemma. It’s a curve representing the angular offset of the sun from its mean position on the celestial sphere as viewed from Earth. The sun’s position in the figure 8 varies by geography and time of year, but when a series of photographs are taken from one location you can see the sun’s relative path through the seasons.

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An Updated Astrological Calendar from 1544 – Eastern Hemisphere
|| 8/10/2007 || 10:31 pm || Comments Off on An Updated Astrological Calendar from 1544 – Eastern Hemisphere || ||

About a month ago I made the first version of the map using the Western Hemisphere. At the time I didn’t even think about making a secondary map for the Eastern Hemisphere.

Continue reading:

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Ball of Destruction
|| 9/29/2005 || 9:00 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 8,000 :
Ball of Destruction by Nikolas Schiller
Ball of Destruction

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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