Equating the Heavens, Astronomical practice, computation, and instruments of Planetary theory in Early modern Europe

August 25–28, 2021: Kassel & Dresden

Astronomisch-Physikalisches Kabinett (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel) & Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) in Cooperation with ALFA—Shaping a European Scientific Scene: Alfonsine Astronomy (ERC/CRNS)

Org: Michael Korey, Samuel Gessner, Matthieu Husson


Thursday, August 26:

19:30    SESSION 0: Setting the Stage – An Introduction to Renaissance Planetary Automata

  • Speakers: Karsten Gaulke, Samuel Gessner, Michael Korey

Friday, August 27: Sessions 1-3

Hessisches Landesmuseum, Brüder-Grimm-Platz 5, 34117 Kassel

9:00      SESSION 1: Universities, printing houses, and artisanal workshops: characterizing astronomical milieus in early modern Europe  (Moderator: Michael Shank)

  • Matthieu Husson, The Parisian arts faculty as a milieu for Alfonsine astronomy: a research hypothesis on the genealogy of the ‘contratabula’ format
  • Matteo Valleriani, The academic book market in the field of astronomy: Local and global rules
  • Giorgio Strano, Learned and unlearned craftsmen: The challenge of reconstructing mechanisms from texts

10:30    Coffee Break


11:00    SESSION 2: The ‘Deus ex Machina’ research project: new findings on mechanisms, celestial observations, and manuscripts linked to the planetary clocks made in Kassel  (Moderator: Stephen Johnston)

  • Speakers: Karsten Gaulke, Samuel Gessner, Michael Korey


13:00    Lunch


14:00    SESSION 3: Horoscopes in view: multiple media to represent computational procedures, access astrological information, and publicly display heavenly movements (Moderator: Bruce Moran)

  • Marisa Addomine, Monumental public display of astrological data
  • Günther Oestmann, Corpus thematum genethliacorum: On horoscope collections of the early modern period
  • Nick Jacobson, Conrad Heingarter’s manuscript notes for using planetary latitudes in astrological practice

Saturday, August 28: Sessions 4-6

10:45    SESSION 4: Ph.D. Pitch Session (Moderator: Petra Schmidl)

  • Camille Bui, Planetary latitudes in Alfonsine astronomy: tables and canons
  • Razieh-Sadat Mousavi, A ninth-century study aid for Ptolemaic astronomy: Al-Farghani’s ‘Elements of Astronomy’ in text and context
  • Inês Costa, Lunar mansions in 15th-century navigation of the Indian Ocean


11:30    SESSION 5: The coherence of the heavens: alternative geometrical and calculational models (Moderator: James Evans)

  • Rich Kremer, The temptation of bi-epicyclism: Was Poulle correct in dismissing the Stams astronomical table as a Ptolemaic failure?
  • Stefan Zieme, Equations of time in Alfonsine astronomy
  • Hamid Bohloul, Kāshānī’s two favorite equatoria: multipurpose or ideal instruments?