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The Heavens on Earth: Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture (Science & Cultural Theory) Paperback – 30 Mar 2010


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“"The Heavens on Earth" raises the bar for the historiography of astronomy and observatory techniques. The collection stands out from the existing literature in its attention to the broad cultural context of observatory work and techniques; continental Europe in addition to Great Britain and the United States; the connections between the observatory and ‘popular’ astronomy; and the links between astronomy and concerns such as geodesy, the rating of chronometers, and military science. It is a major contribution to the history of not only astronomy but also nineteenth-century science and its culture.”—Robert W. Smith, University of Alberta, co-author of "Hubble: Imaging Space and Time"

“This impressive volume is the first to offer a panoramic view of the observatory as site of science, empire, and modernization during its golden age. At the forefront of precision measurement, standardization, number-crunching, and worldwide networking, the nineteenth-century observatory made globalization a reality.”—Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

"This impressive volume is the first to offer a panoramic view of the observatory as site of science, empire, and modernization during its golden age. At the forefront of precision measurement, standardization, number-crunching, and worldwide networking, the nineteenth-century observatory made globalization a reality."--Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

""The Heavens on Earth" represents the most comprehensive work yet produced on the political, military and cultural significance of nineteenth-century astronomical observatories. It is highly recommended for all scholars interested in the instruments and techniques by which those observatories became the very model of scientific precision."--Steven Ruskin, "Technology and Culture"

"I recommend this book to those interested in the late enlightenment and Victorian period that heralded advances in science and the philosophical stance of astronomy."


--Ian Welland, "Astronomy Now"

"In crafting this collection, this well-tuned team of editors never hits a sour note. . . . The masterful introduction provides a cogent mapping of the collection's contents. . . . [T]his volume provides an extraordinarily useful reframing of a significant aspect of nineteenth-century astronomy. These essays refocus our attention from the facades of those monolithic monuments on the ill to the living, breathing observers within their walls who indefatigably struggled to see, measure, record, and share their vision of heavenly and earthly phenomena."--Pamela Gossin, "Victorian Studies"

"It is hard to do justice to this excellent book in a short review. . . . The essays as a whole constitute an extremely valuable resource for astronomical historians. . . . "The Heavens on Earth" is a meticulously-documented scholarly work. . . ."--Allan Chapman, "The Observatory Magazine"

"The contributors to this book are to be congratulated for putting together a thought-provoking and wide-ranging collection of essays. The editors should be thanked not only for bringing these together but for providing a thorough review of the field in their introduction and the excellent bibliography."--Rebekah Higgitt, "British Journal for the History of Science"

"This book perceptively explores how observatory practices interacted with cultural and political representations at different levels. As such, the volume is a valuable contribution to the history of astronomy, offering to general and specialized readers new insights into the social and cultural history of nineteenth-century astronomy."--Pedro Ruis-Castell, "Journal for the History of Astronomy"

From the Back Cover

""The Heavens on Earth" raises the bar for the historiography of astronomy and observatory techniques. The collection stands out from the existing literature in its attention to the broad cultural context of observatory work and techniques; continental Europe in addition to Great Britain and the United States; the connections between the observatory and 'popular' astronomy; and the links between astronomy and concerns such as geodesy, the rating of chronometers, and military science. It is a major contribution to the history of not only astronomy but also nineteenth-century science and its culture."--Robert W. Smith, University of Alberta, co-author of "Hubble: Imaging Space and Time"

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