The first round of Smithsonian’s Summer Showdown ends today! Did you vote for our Galileo letter yet? Not any ordinary letter, he describes a water-clock driven by a mysterious magnetic force and references his house arrest and the Inquisition’s restrictions on his movements and publications. Obviously it is the Most Seriously Amazing history object in the showdown.
And speaking of Galileo - the gif above is based on an illustration of the Pleiades in The Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius). This year (2015) should be a great viewing of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 13th, just before the new moon!