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Science in the ArchivesPasts, Presents, Futures$
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Lorraine Daston

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226432229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226432533.001.0001

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Astronomy after the Deluge

Astronomy after the Deluge

(p.17) One Astronomy after the Deluge
Science in the Archives

Florence Hsia

University of Chicago Press

The longue durée of natural processes studied by astronomers seems to call for an appropriately comprehensive database, a total archive encompassing all celestial phenomena observed throughout human history. This archival desideratum, however, is a relatively recent development. Grounded in the field of applied historical astronomy and the genre of the eclipse canon, the modern ideal of the total astronomical archive has older roots in the gradual reversal of ancient conceptions of canonicity; changing attitudes towards the probative value of empirical material; an evolving print culture of astronomical data (notably the early modern genre of celestial history); and shifts in the moral economy of astronomical practice. Close attention to such disciplinary investments reveals the complexity of astronomy’s long struggle to navigate its data deluge.

Keywords:   applied historical astronomy, eclipse canon, canon, print culture, celestial history, data deluge

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