|Pages/Publication Date:||232 / 2019|
In 1910, Mary Acworth Evershed (1867-1949) sat on a hill in southern India staring at the moon as she grappled with apparent mistakes in Dante's Divine Comedy. Was Dante's astronomy unintelligible? Or was he, for a man of his time and place, as insightful as one could be about the sky? As the 20th century began, women who wished to become professional astronomers faced difficult cultural barriers, but Evershed joined the British Astronomical Association and became an experienced observer of sunspots, solar eclipses, and variable stars. Using Evershed and Dante as her fixed point, Tracy Daugherty traces astronomy from Galileo to Einstein, while offering a poetic meditation on literature, science, and the evolution of ideas.