David Beveridge Adamson & his Orrery

Presented by Joe Grida

The orrery, a mechanical model of the Solar System that illustrates or predicts the relative positions and motions of the planets and some moons, has been used for centuries. Though the Greeks had working planetaria, the first orrery that was a planetarium of the modern era was produced in 1704, and one was presented to Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery – whence came the name. They are typically driven by a clockwork mechanism with a globe representing the Sun at the centre, and with a planet at the end of each of the arms. In 1839, James and Elizabeth Adamson and their 7 children, including son David, a carpenter and wheelwright,  left Dumferline, Scotland bound for South Australia. Early on, David established himself as an implement maker, mechanical genius and an astronomer. In 1868, he produced an orrery that the ASSA has been the custodian of since the late 1960’s. In this talk, we explore the history of the orrery, the life of David Beveridge Adamson, his telescopes, and his remarkable orrery, now on display in the Parliamentary Library of South Australia. 

Bio: Joe Grida has been observing the deep sky for over 40 years. He is an Honorary Life Member, Hall of Fame inductee, and a Past President (a few times) of the Astronomical Society of South Australia. He currently holds the position of Technical Information Officer. Since 1990, he has written a monthly "Starwatch" column for The Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide. He was Chairman of the Observatory Committee that established ASSA's Stockport Observatory, 80 kms north of Adelaide in 1986. A deep sky observer from way back, his preferred observing telescope is a 16" F4.5 GoTo Dobsonian Telescope.

Free – visitors welcome – booking not required

Please note – university security locks entrance doors at 8pm sharp

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Event info

Wednesday 07 Aug 2019

8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Kerr Grant Theatre 2nd Floor, Physics Building, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide



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