Astronomers' Universe

Orrery

A Story of Mechanical Solar Systems, Clocks, and English Nobility

Authors: Buick, Tony

  • Presents the history and development of orreries and introduces the Irish earls of Orrery after whom the astronomical device was named
  • Uniquely brings together the topics of clocks, orreries, and their connection to the Boyle family
  • Provides a fascinating example of the relationship between innovative thinking (invention) and precision engineering (execution)
  • Offers practical tips and instructions on locating, and even building these fascinating solar system models
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eBook $24.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-7043-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $34.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-7042-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
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About this book

“Orrery” appeals to almost anyone interested in popular astronomy, astronomical mechanical devices, scientific instruments, the history of clocks - and even the history of aristocratic and prestigious families! Many people these days – not only astronomers – have a good idea of the main components of the Solar System. They might also know about the orrery, a mechanical model that shows the movements of the Moon and planets. But not too many know why it was so named and who it was named after. The Boyle family – the Earls of Orrery –include the famous Boyle of Boyle’s Law. But others were key in the history of the orrery, not the least being clockmakers. Aware of the lunar and planetary content of the sky, they strove to make scientific instruments to demonstrate their movements and introduced measuring devices to predict their positions. In antiquity, their lives on occasion depended on the accuracy; upsetting kings and lords was dangerous business!

Orreries are found everywhere. They can be made of wood or metal, and are even available today as home-assembly kits and children’s toys. They appear in paintings, on computers, on the side of royal clocks, in stately home hallways, and of course, in museums all over the world. This book contains illustrations of orreries to give a guide as to what is and was available and where to see the best examples. It also contains information and references to help readers who want to make (or buy) their own orrery.

The story of the Boyles is not just relevant to a tiny corner of Ireland, but spans the world. “Orrery” highlights the process of discovery and humankind’s universal fascination with the heavens. Provides a fascinating example of the relationship between innovative thinking (invention) and precision engineering (execution).

About the authors

Dr. Tony Buick is a chemist by profession, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemists. He is the author of the first and second editions of “How to Photograph the Moon and Planets with your Digital Camera” (Springer, 2011) and has had many astronomy and photography articles published, most recently in the Sky at Night magazine: “How to photograph the ISS.” In addition he has written for MENSA magazine, the Society for Popular Astronomy and various other magazines and journals. He began his retirement by returning to a lifelong interest in astronomy and has encouraged young and old to observe and understand the sky, especially while teaching science, computing and geography in a local school. Indeed, it was at that school where he showed the children at his science club how to make a human orrery and demonstrated the construction of an orrery from bits and pieces found around the house. This interest took hold and led to the research that forms the foundation of this book. He has a wide range of interests from the infinite – through a telescope – to the infinitesimal – through a microscope – and has published articles on tardigrades, robust microscopic animals that can even survive in space.

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Setting the Scene

    Buick, Tony

    Pages 1-51

  • Honest George, Chronometers and the Mystery of the Disappearing Proto-Orreries

    Buick, Tony

    Pages 53-96

  • Orrery—the Man and the Model

    Buick, Tony

    Pages 97-147

  • A Closer Look at Gear Calculations, Time Corrections, Escapements and Orbital Resonance

    Buick, Tony

    Pages 149-197

  • The Clockmaker’s London

    Buick, Tony

    Pages 199-251

Buy this book

eBook $24.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-7043-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $34.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-7042-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Orrery
Book Subtitle
A Story of Mechanical Solar Systems, Clocks, and English Nobility
Authors
Series Title
Astronomers' Universe
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-7043-4
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-7043-4
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-7042-7
Series ISSN
1614-659X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 299
Number of Illustrations and Tables
179 b/w illustrations, 70 illustrations in colour
Topics