Astronomical

Submitted
Schechner, Sara J., and Susanna Cecilia Berger. “Observations on Niccolò Tornioli’s The Astronomers” (Submitted).Abstract
We analyze the iconography of the painting, paying special attention to the scientific instruments, diagrams, celestial phenomena, and individuals, in order to show the limitiations of an iconographic approach as well as to offer new interpretations.  We suggest that the painting highlights the importance of visual representations and guided conversation in scientific observational practices in early modern Europe,
2020
Sundials
Schechner, Sara J., Meredith Stepien, and Pedro Raposo. “Sundials.” Adler Astronomy Live. Adler Planetarium, Chicago, 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

cite as: Sara J. Schechner, "Sundials," interview with Meredith Stepien and Pedro Raposo, Adler Astronomy Live, streamed live on October 8, 2020, YouTube video, 55:50, https://youtu.be/Xfo9ifTixIg.

Hello stargazers! Welcome to Adler Astronomy Live: Sundials! ☀️

The Adler Planetarium has the best and most comprehensive collection of sundials in North America. Sundials played a central role in shaping people’s sense of time, and show how the latter has been influenced by their culture, politics, religion, labor, society, and geography throughout the ages. ⏰ Join us for a conversation with Dr. Sara J. Schechner, author of Time of Our Lives: Sundials of the Adler Planetarium, on some of the most spectacular sundials in the Adler’s collections and their stories.

Watch the YouTube video here.

IAU Commission C3 Newsletter
Schechner, Sara J., ed.IAU Commission C3 Newsletter,” 2020, vol. 2020, no. 2, 57pp.Abstract
Newsletter of the International Astronomical Union Commission C3 (History of Astronomy), edited and published semiannually at the Summer and Winter Solstices by Sara Schechner, Secretary of IAU Commission C3. 
iau-c3-newsletter-2020-2.pdf
IAU Commission C3 Newsletter
Schechner, Sara J., ed.IAU Commission C3 Newsletter,” 2020, vol. 2020, no. 1, 57pp.Abstract
Newsletter of the International Astronomical Union Commission C3 (History of Astronomy), edited and published semiannually at the Summer and Winter Solstices by Sara Schechner, Secretary of IAU Commission C3. 
iau-c3-newsletter-2020-1.pdf
2019
Schechner, Sara J."Telling Time in Tokugawa Japan." Review of Making Time: Astronomical Measurement in Tokugawa Japan by Yulia Frumer.Physics Today 72, no. 6 (2019): 57-58. Publisher's Version phyics_today_72.6_2019_review_of_frumer.pdf
Time of Our Lives: Sundials of the Adler Planetarium.
Schechner, Sara J. Time of Our Lives: Sundials of the Adler Planetarium.. Chicago: Adler Planetarium, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

 

Time of Our Lives

Sundials of the Adler Planetarium

Sara J. Schechner

 

Published by the Adler Planetarium, with the support of the North American Sundial Society

 

The Adler Planetarium of Chicago has the best and most comprehensive collection of sundials and time-finding instruments in North America. Now many of these objects can be yours to explore. This volume encompasses a dazzling array of sundials, 268 in all, that date from the 15th to 20th centuries.

What makes this catalogue special is that it is written to engage non-specialists approaching sundials for the first time. Although the organizational logic is astronomical and mathematical, the primary Interpretive essays set the sundials into cultural and social context.

The catalogue divides sundials into classes according to the element of the Sun’s apparent motion that they track (e.g. hour-angle, altitude, azimuth, or a combination) and the orientation of the surfaces on which the hour lines are mathematically drawn. Within each chapter, the instruments are organized chronologically and by workshop, thereby giving readers insight into that type’s development over time and differences among makers. Technical object descriptions are supplemented by tables of divisions, gazetteers, saints’ days, weather forecasts, and in the case of polyhedral dials, the dial types, orientations, and hour systems drawn on every face. The tables offer a snapshot of the precision to which the maker aimed and the sundial’s complexity. Color photographs of each sundial show its overall appearance and details.

Chapter introductions go beyond mathematical descriptions of how each type works. Drawing upon research findings presented here for the first time, the essays offer insights into early production techniques, fads and fashions, social hierarchy among users, the impact of church and civil authorities, and the history of the sundial classes.

Throughout the ages, people’s sense of time has been influenced by their culture, politics, religion, labor, society, and geography. This catalogue offers concrete evidence, for every sundial in it embodies the time-related needs and values of its maker and users.

The catalogue includes a taxonomy of compass needles, glossary, bibliography, and index. It is hardcover, 488 pages, 9.75” x 11”.

 

2018
Schechner, Sara J.’Girl Hours’ at the Harvard College Observatory, review of The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars, by Dava Sobel.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 49, no. 1 (2018): 117-119. schechner_girl_hours_at_harvard_observatory_jha_2018.pdf
Schechner, Sara J.The Future of Astronomy's Archived Observations –An Open Discussion.” Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 50, no. 7 (2018).
Schechner, Sara J., and John Davis. “The Puzzle of a ‘Reproduction’ Astrolabe in the Style of Jean Fusoris.” Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society, no. 139 (2018): 8-16. harvard_astrolabe_sis_bull_dec_2018-hi_res.pdf
2017
Schechner, Sara J.These Are Not Your Mother’s Sundials: Or, Time and Astronomy’s Authority.” In The Science of Time 2016: Time in Astronomy & Society, Past, Present and Future, edited by Pavol Gabor Catherine Hohenkerk Kenneth Seidelmann and Elisa Arias, Ludwig Combrinck, 49-73. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2017. schechner_978-3-319-59909-0_8.pdf