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Quirky Astronomy

This book will be published late in 2017.

CoverOver many centuries there have been a lot of quirky ideas put forward about the structure of the universe as well as the  planets, moons, stars and galaxies in it.

In 1835 it was reported that amazing flying aliens had been observed on the Moon as shown at left.

In later years herds of ‘lunar bison’ were seen stampeding over the floor of the crater Plato.

The Earth has been believed to be flat, hollow and even inside-out with all the universe contained in a hollow sphere within which we live and with the antipodes above our heads.

In the 1930s attempts were made to fire rockets vertically upwards to land in Australia!

Belief in Martians was widespread until the 1950s because their huge canals were ‘seen’ on the the face of Mars carrying precious water from the polar caps to the equator.

Even the planet Venus was ‘observed’ to have canals.

Sir William Herschel, arguably one of the greatest astronomers of all time, believed that the Sun is hollow and that intelligent aliens live inside on a cool globe covered in oceans and vegetation.

The idea that the Sun is cold was revived when the Rev. Philip Francis went on television with Dr. Patrick Moore to explain why the Sun is cold - see   http://bit.ly/2oaNJ0M.

Sandy in BikiniFrancis wrote a book “The Temperate Sun” and here we see my best friend Sandy enjoying the illusion of heat coming from a cold Sun whilst reading the Rev. Francis’s book.

Johannes Kepler believed that the planet Jupiter was home to a vast armada of sailing ships and that the inhabitants of Jupiter grow huge quantities of hemp.

The Aetherius Society believes that the planets of our Solar System are all inhabited and that they are ruled by an Interplanetary Parliament based on Saturn where it is based in ‘The Home Of Wisdom’.

According to the Aetherius Society the inhabitants of Saturn are featureless spheres about twelve metres in diameter.

The most accomplished astronomer of the pre-telescopic age was arguably Tycho Brahe. He had his nose sliced off in a duel aged twenty over a disagreement on how to solve a mathematical problem. Thereafter he wore a brass prosthetic nose for everyday wear but had gold and silver noses for special occasions.

He had a pet elk which he treated like his best friend. Sadly, the elk got blind drunk at a rowdy party, fell down the stairs and died of its injuries.

At one time Tycho was so immensely rich that, in mid-life, he owned one percent of the Danish national wealth but he fell from grace when he was suspected of seducing the Queen of Denmark into his bed.

He died in 1601 of a burst bladder because he was at a royal banquet and etiquette forbade him to leave the table before the King of Denmark arose.

Shakespeare was probably inspired to write Hamlet by the story of Tycho Brahe’s life.

MimasAt left we see an image of Mimas, a minor moon in orbit around Saturn.

Is the remarkable resemblance to the Star Wars ‘Death Star’ a coincidence?

The ‘Death Star’ was created by George Lucas before any pictures of Mimas had been obtained - spooky or what!

George Ellery Hale was a wealthy and wildly enthusiastic astronomer who had the huge telescope built on Mount Palomar - see picture below.

Throughout his life, whenever he was troubled or needed to make an important decision an elf would appear and give Hale advice which he relied upon for most of his eccentric life.

Had this occurrence become widespread it could have been called the National ‘Elf Service (sorry!).Palomar 1

Is the Moon covered in ice to a depth of 150 miles  as believed by the NAZI party in the 1930s or is it a mirror reflecting the continents of our Earth as believed by some of the ancient Greek astronomers?

Geoff Kirby’s book is packed with similarly quirky ‘Alternative Theories’ of the Solar System, the planets and universe at large and the curious people who have created weird and wonderful ideas about our universe.

This entertaining and fascinating book will be published towards the end of 2017.