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Saturday, September 4 • 2:45pm - 3:15pm
Tar-Meneldur and the Sorontil Royal Observatory

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Tar-Meneldur, the fifth king of Númenor, is the best documented astronomer (Q. Meneldil) in the history of Middle-earth. He carefully watched the motions of heavens from his private observatory tower in the northern heights of the island until the duties of being king interfered. This presentation will compare Tar-Menedur to the lives of real-world astronomer-nobles; critique his observatory location and choice of architecture (hint: a far better choice than Orthanc, the other Middle-earth observatory tower); speculate on the instrumentation and observation routine most closely aligned with the talents of a far-sighted pre-telescopic astronomer (and the navigational needs of a seafaring nation on a flat planet); and finally suggest real world controversies surrounding observatories at Oxford, Greenwich, and Edinburgh that may have informed Tolkien's inclusion of this character's particular avocation.

avatar for Kristine Larsen

Kristine Larsen

Professor of Astronomy, Central Connecticut State University
Dr. Kristine Larsen is Professor of Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University, where her teaching and research focus on the intersections between science and society. Her work on the uses of ancient, medieval, and modern science in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis... Read More →

Saturday September 4, 2021 2:45pm - 3:15pm BST
1 - Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre & Online (Webinar Strand)