Category Archives: Orbis Tertius

01. Orbis Tertius | 5. The horizon of our concerns | d. Your uncertain disk ii.

ii. The Lunar Society of Birmingham, an informal gathering of many of the prominent figures of the Midlands Enlightenment, would meet monthly around the time of the full moon. Founded by Erasmus Darwin, its members included Joseph Priestly and John Baskerville, inventor of the font used in the print version of this project.

01. Orbis Tertius | 5. The horizon of our concerns | d. Your uncertain disk i.

i. On the morning of our departure for Rye, we heard on the radio of new evidence emerging in support of the “giant impact hypothesis”, an idea that attempts to explain the creation of the Earth’s moon as the result of a collision between our planet and Theia¹ — a smaller, Mars-size planet — four and a half billion years ago. The idea had long been considered problematic due to the similarities between the chemical makeup of Earth and its moon: were it formed from the remnants of another planet, there would be a difference. Recent studies of oxygen isotopes in moon rock however, had found significant-enough differences to elevate the “giant impact hypothesis” to a new level of plausibility.

Giant impact


¹ Theia, the Titanic mother of Selene (the moon) was goddess of — among other things ­— glitter.


01. Orbis Tertius | 5. The horizon of our concerns | c. The spheres are in commotion v.

v. Francis Bacon (whose “Baconian method” was an influence on Thomas Browne’s own scientific endeavours) laid out a utopian vision for the New World in his New Atlantis (1627). The novel describes a society on a fictional island in the Pacific where there is freedom of religion and a citizenry displaying “generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, piety and public spirit”. The novel is regarded by the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis as having inspired the setting sail of a colony of Rosicrucian mystics, led by German Pietist and end-timer Johannes Kelpius, for Pennsylvania in the late seventeenth century.


01. Orbis Tertius | 5. The horizon of our concerns | c. The spheres are in commotion iv.

iv. Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who laid out the gardens at Bowood, was head gardener at Stowe House, Buckinghamshire for ten years. In the Elysian Fields at Stowe can be found The Temple of British Worthies, built by Brown’s predecessor William Kent. The busts contained within include, among others, Elizabeth I, Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon.

 

01. Orbis Tertius | 5. The horizon of our concerns | c. The spheres are in commotion iii.

iii. Mars Incorporated also has a shop at its Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson, Nevada. To the rear of the building is the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, modelled on the English landscape garden, a style exemplified by such estates as Bowood in Wiltshire. It was in a room in Bowood House that Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen.