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Tessellated Space
|| 1/9/2008 || 1:13 pm || Comments Off on Tessellated Space || ||

The Messier 101 Pinwheel Galaxy photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope
Courtesy of the European Space Agency & NASA

Back in October, Georgetown English professor Mimi Yiu gave a presentation at conference called Defining Space in Dublin, Ireland. The title of her presentation was “The Virtual Fabric of Tessellated Space: Nikolas Schiller’s Geospatial Art as Map, Quilt, and Arabesque.” I mention this because my next project uniquely involves tessellated space.

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Moon Mars Conjunction
|| 12/24/2007 || 3:06 pm || Comments Off on Moon Mars Conjunction || ||

Screen grab from the Astroprof’s Page (Image produced using Stellarium)

Last night my next door neighbor and I lugged the telescope to my rooftop to look at the night sky. It was an exceptional night for celestial observations too. My neighbor had been letting me borrow the telescope for the last 3 months and I must say its been an absolute pleasure looking off into the cosmos– even through the dense light pollution surrounding Washington, DC.

Last night’s conjunction was definitely a high point of my celestial viewings, followed closely by seeing Saturn. In the telescope, Mars was visible but rather hard to see because of the relative brightness of the moon! My neighbor commented on Mars, “Is that brown spot a storm?” I laughed and said that was probably the surface of Mars that he was seeing. What was really neat was watching the conjunction take place. Around dusk, Mars was on the left of the Moon and by 10pm he was on the other side of the Moon.

Below is some text copied from the Astroprof’s Page:

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Seen in the night sky last week
|| 12/1/2007 || 11:05 pm || Comments Off on Seen in the night sky last week || ||

Two weeks ago I finished reading “Fated Sky” by Benson Bobrick. The book is a historical overview of prominent astrologers thoughout history like Ptolemy, Dee, Brahe, and Sibley (to name but a few). I am quite happy I read it. It’s given me a new appreciation for the ancient art of astrology. It’s also helped to support my recent interest in the night sky.

This last week was quite a busy, productive, and exciting week. Some emotional loss, some financial gain, travel to a new place, research of the old and new and, well, quite a lot of fun.

This week also coincided with the viewing of two planets for the first time. With both my naked eye and using a telescope, I gazed upon Mars & Saturn for the first time.

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(Mecca) is now Makkah
|| 11/28/2007 || 10:27 pm || Comments Off on (Mecca) is now Makkah || ||

On August 12th, 2007 I took this screenshot for my blog entry related to the Astro-theological overlays for Google Earth. The project overlaid the zodiac on locations of religious importance: Vatican City, Mecca, and Jerusalem.

Today I discovered that that the names for the locations have changed in Google Earth.

note: the Kaaba is in the lower right-hand corner

My entire life I have always spelled it the city as Mecca. I wonder when this was changed? Should I change my spellings? Some day I would like to visit the holy city of Makkah :-)


Related Mecca Entries:

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Tycho Brahe’s Armillary Spheres
|| 10/8/2007 || 2:41 pm || Comments Off on Tycho Brahe’s Armillary Spheres || ||


from www.tychobrahe.com

So following up on yesterday’s entry about the armillary sphere on the Vatican News Services website. Today I read about the armillary spheres used by Tycho Brahe and was honestly quite stunned. He had 4 different armillary spheres! Above is my favorite, the Great Equatorial Armillary Sphere, which looks quite a bit like the hexagon quilt projection.

Check out the others:

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Holy See an Armillary Sphere?
|| 10/7/2007 || 1:00 pm || Comments Off on Holy See an Armillary Sphere? || ||

Screen grab from the website of the Vatican showing an Armillary Sphere in the background

Looks like there is an Armillary Sphere in the background. I find this interesting simply because an Armillary Sphere most likely has a pagan Zodiac on it. Two months ago I made those Astro-theological overlays (which included the Vatican) and today I stumbled on to a slightly hidden one on the Holy See’s News Services webpage.

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Found Celestial Cartography
|| 10/3/2007 || 12:50 pm || Comments Off on Found Celestial Cartography || ||

As I mentioned before, lately I’ve been dabbling in the confluence of astrology & astromony. Last night when I was playing with the Interactive Astrological Calendar from 1544 for Google Earth, I discovered that when I switched to sky mode I am presented with an interactive star atlas that juxtaposes the antique Zodiac with the constellations it’s named after. Granted the constellations *do not* line up correctly on the Zodiac, its a really interesting experience that deserves more work. Can the zodiac wrap around the envrionment if done correctly? If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, click on the image above to check it out! Please remix.

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An updated Armillary Sphere
|| 9/28/2007 || 8:54 pm || Comments Off on An updated Armillary Sphere || ||

Above is an Armillary Sphere, which was used in ancient times as a celestial calendar. Created prior to the orrey, which is a helio-centric model, the Armillary Sphere allowed it’s user to know where the moon was in relation to the earth. It also featured a zodiac, which I’ve been playing with earlier this year.

To make the above image, I edited the public domain engraving on the Wikipedia page and added a very tiny NASA Blue Marble satellite image of the western hemisphere of the earth. I am probably going to add this image to this website’s splash page, which will knock the total number of visual combinations to over 3,000! I’d like to make a few more first. The U.S. Naval Observatory’s logo gave me some ideas :-).

Since May I’ve been very interested in old maps and the scientific instruments that were used. When I discovered Julius Schiller, who published Coelum Stellatum Christianum (which replaced pagan constellations with biblical and early Christian figures), I began to take quite an interest in celestial cartography.

Around that same time my next door neighbor, thinking that my cartographic expertise had to do with astronomy, offered to let me borrow his children’s telescope. Since then (about mid-August) I’ve been looking to the night sky about once a week; much to my enjoyment. Last week was a highlight because we met on the rooftop and set up the telescope. I showed him and his kids how to use the telescope and was able to show them the moon for the first time. DC has quite a bit of light pollution which makes celestial observances quite tough. The neighborhood watch was even in effect because my housemate said people from the street over knocked on our door warning her about people on the roof.

My favorite night sites are Venus and the Moon, simply because they are the easiest to find. I really want to see Mars, Saturn, or Jupiter. But I’ll just have to wait until the night’s right (or I have ample patience). Ironically, a week after my neighbor brought over the telescope, the new version of Google Earth came out with an integrated celestial viewer.

I have more to write about my nightly observations and research I’ve been dabbling in at a later date.

Related Antique Entries:

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The Astro-Theological Overlays for Google Earth
|| 8/12/2007 || 12:14 pm || Comments Off on The Astro-Theological Overlays for Google Earth || ||

Click on the image below to download the .kmz file [888 Kb] for Google Earth:

Instead of just wrapping the Astrological Calendar from 1544 around the earth, today I decided to place the calendar alongside the 3 holy locations of Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. This geographic juxtaposition of pagan symbolism with established religion makes this series of overlays one of the more interesting cartographic creations I’ve ever made.

Continue reading:

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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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The Daily Render By
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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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  • thank you,
    come again!