Cultural Astronomy

Cultural astronomy is the study of how societies relate to celestial objects and their appearance in the sky.

The Great Lion of indigenous Arabian astronomy

The Lion (al-asad) of indigenous Arabian astronomy stretched across 135 angular degrees of sky, from Procyon and Gemini to Arcturus and Spica.

Indigenous Arabian Astronomy

Dr. Danielle Adams studies the development of indigenous Arabian astronomy, from pre-Islam (ca. 500 CE) through the first centuries of the Abbasid Period (ca. 1000 CE). Fluent in Arabic, she lived in Beirut, Lebanon, for three years while studying Arabic poetry and Arabian astronomical texts. Her research presents for the first time Arabian stars within their own cultural contexts. At Lowell Observatory, she continues to be active in astronomy education, speaking to various groups about Arabian cultural astronomy and the heritage of the many Arabic star names astronomers use today. She is also an associate member of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Star Names, where she lends her expertise on Arabian and Islamic astronomical traditions.

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Lowell researchers of cultural astronomy

Dr. Danielle Adams

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Areas of Research

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Solar System

Planetary scientists continue a long tradition of studying bodies in the solar system, including the Sun, planets, moons, comets, meteors, asteroids, and Kuiper belt objects.

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Stellar Astrophysics

Another long standing tradition at Lowell is the the study stars, from supermassive Wolf-Rayet stars to low-mass M-dwarf varieties.

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Exoplanetary Systems

Lowell astronomers search for distant worlds around other stars and characterize their nature.

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Galactic & Extragalactic Astronomy

V. M. Slipher’s observations of the redshifts of galaxies a century ago were the first evidence for the expansion of the universe. Research on structures of galaxies and of the universe continues at Lowell today.

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Cultural Astronomy

Researchers not only study how the universe works, but also how humans perceive it and integrate these interpretations into culture.

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Instrumentation Research & Development

Our instrumentation team carries out a variety of work in support of research instrumentation, outreach telescopes, and historic preservation projects.

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