Posted on Friday, October 31, 2014
By Kadri

Celestial Sleuth
Using Astronomy to Solve Mysteries in Art, History and Literature
by D. W. Olson

If you have ever wondered looking at a painting or a maybe while watching a film whether or not the astronomical objects are or were in the exact place as the artist depicted them or maybe they just added it to fill in an empty spot, then this book will be a delightful read for you.

In Celestial Sleuth, D.W. Olson takes the reader on a tour to some of the place where some well known and some not so well known paintings or photographs have been made and shows how we can find out the exact moment when an astronomical object would have appeared in the precise spot as seen on a picture for example.

In the book you can find some quite famous paintings that will have their astronomical mysteries solved or about which you’ll find out a lot more. For example you’ll get acquainted with Edvard Munch, who painted „The Scream“. As an art enthusiast you might appreciate the colours and figures, but when you look at the orange-yellow sky, one might start to wonder whether it was the artist’s imagination or was the sky really a fiery colour? How could we possibly find out?

Munch is just one of the artists, whose work will be investigated, but Olson doesn’t only take a look at paintings, but also photography and historic events that might have gone differently had the people involved looked at an astronomical Almanac to see the phase of the moon or when it rose or set.

Although the historic events are from the history of the United States of America, just reading about how a bright rising full moon might have been one of the contributing factors for someone being mistaken for an enemy and being shot at, makes this book quite as thrilling as a detective novel. Also as in the best detective novels, there is quite a bit of science involved and as it brings together art, history and astronomy, it is a wonderful mixture. You’ll certainly find out something new from this book.

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