Saturday, 27 October 2018

Peterborough Moon

Two weeks ago we travelled to Peterborough Cathedral to see the Museum of the Moon. This was a 7 metre diameter model of the Moon that hung in the space at the centre of the cathedral where the transepts intersected the nave. It was very impressive and by 10am the cathedral probably had move visitors than the nearby shopping mall. We met a couple who travelled nearly two hours to visit and see the Moon model.  Here it is in its glory.

The far side of the Moon which we cannot see from Earth is very cratered and has non of the large maria that the Earth facing side has. The scale is 1:500000 and shows detail that cannot be seen from Earth such as craters within other craters. The Cathedral was still exhibiting Tim Peake's Soyuz and we were able to get nearer to it this time around. It must have been frightening descending back to Earth in a tiny pod that was literally held together with nuts and bolts.
  In addition to the tomb of Katherine of Aragon and the resting place or Mary Queen of Scots (her body was re interred in Westminster Abbey in 1612 when James I was king) the cathedral has an early working clock from 1450 that has no face and wooden parts, it chimed the hours instead so that the monks knew the times of the services.
It occurred to me that although the church in Shakespeare's times had appeared to have fought against science and the Copernican view of the cosmos in our times it has more or less embraced science and certainly this particular weekend there was plenty for scientists and amateur astronomers to admire in Peterborough Cathedral.  Finally in the canopy over the high altar I spotted an image of the guiding star.  It does look rather like a comet in this representation and above in the apex there is a magnificent Star of David. Perhaps the architects were hedging their bets!!


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