On the Sunny Side: An Exhibit from Special Collections & University Archives (2013)

Detail of the sun from fol19v of MS 83.

July 24 – October 4,  2013

The long, warm days of summer, and the shorter but still sunny days of early fall, afforded a good opportunity to display works on the sun from Special Collections and University Archives. Illustrations of the sun, defined in the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Edinburgh, 1771) as “an immense globe of fire,” abound among our holdings of early astronomy books; and sun-baked metaphors illuminate many a work of fiction or memory. The sun’s rays are seen to measure the day, as they once measured the extent of empire, and titles on display from Special Collections recorded both. On a campus graced with a dairy barn, we are reminded to make hay while the sun shines; and scientists and engineers here have long studied the sun’s power, as shown by materials from University Archives on exhibit. We are grateful to Meridith Beck Sayre and Clare Moran for all their work as guest co-curators for this exhibit.

Shown here: a detail from a lively diagram depicting a pre-Copernican, geocentric theory of eclipses. From [Sacrobosco,] Annotationi sopra la sferette, a 16th-century manuscript in Special Collections, call number MS 83. More images from this manuscript are available in a small online exhibit “Sacrobosco and his Commentators,” related to campus teaching in history of science.