Celestial Sleuths Reveal Exact Date van Gogh Painted Moonrise
A Sky & Telescope Press Release
June 2, 2003Contacts:
Stuart Goldman, Associate Editor
617-864-7360 x141, sgoldman@SkyandTelescope.com
Marcy L. Dill, Marketing Director
617-864-7360 x143, mdill@SkyandTelescope.com
|A PDF file of the article "Dating van Gogh's Moonrise" (Sky & Telescope, July 2003, p. 54) is available in our S&T Magazine Archive; see details below.|
Using astronomical calculations and good old deductive reasoning, celestial sleuths provide the answer to a puzzle art historians have been trying to solve for years: the exact moment depicted in Vincent van Gogh's painting Moonrise. The answer: 9:08 p.m. local mean time on July 13, 1889.
Throughout 2003, as special events commemorate the 150th anniversary of van Gogh's birth, there will also be an astronomical anniversary. Because of a cosmic synchronicity, the calendar dates of lunar phases in 2003 nearly repeat those of 1889. The 114 years since van Gogh's summer in Saint-Rémy correspond to six 19-year-long lunar Metonic cycles. Therefore, on this July 13th, modern observers during evening twilight will see a nearly full Moon rise in the southeast, much as it did on July 13, 1889, when van Gogh stood among the wheat stacks in a monastery field and captured the scene in his remarkable Moonrise.
The July 2003 issue of Sky & Telescope is on sale at newsstands worldwide through the end of June. Due to the great interest in "Dating van Gogh's Moonrise," we are making this article available now via our S&T Magazine Archive:Adobe Reader, which is available for PCs, Macs, and Unix-based computers.
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