The history of cosmology unfolds in this collection drawn from the exhibition Thinking Outside the Sphere: Views of the Stars from Aristotle to Herschel. It begins with beautiful Renaissance images of the earth-centered universe surrounded by the sphere of the stars. Hand-colored copperplate engravings celebrate the sun-centered universe and the dissolution of the spheres of the planets. Richly detailed arrays of multiple solar systems populate the heavens to reveal a plurality of worlds. As astronomers of today add up the exoplanets, we pause to study those illustrated in eighteenth century works, and a haunting mezzotint reflects an early astronomer's vision of galaxies beyond our own.
For other collections on Astronomy see: Early Works; Selected Images; and Star Atlases, Charts, and Maps.