Lecture: 20 November “Celestial Mapping and the Amateur Astronomer” by Nick Kanas, MD

20 November 2019, Wednesday, 7:45 PM, Randall Museum Theater

“Celestial Mapping and the Amateur Astronomer”


Nick Kanas, MD, Professor Emeritus, UCSF

Discover how the history of celestial cartography has evolved into several pathways that have relevance for today’s amateur astronomer. Dr. Nick Kanas will trace the history of ancient star mapping traditions, discuss the beautiful images of constellations pictured in early atlases, and explain how the development and use of the telescope influenced mapping, along with other significant developments that many amateur astronomers take for granted. 

Brief Bio

Nick Kanas has been a member of the SFAA since 1977, serving as a Board member in the early 1980s. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (London). He has collected antiquarian celestial maps for over 40 years and has given talks on celestial cartography to amateur and professional groups. He has published articles on celestial cartography in magazines and journals, and has written two celestial map-related books: Solar System Maps: From Antiquity to the Space Age, and Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography (now in its third edition).  As a UCSF Professor of Psychiatry, he was a NASA-funded Principal Investigator studying psychosocial issues involving astronauts and cosmonauts in space. He is the co-author of the textbook Space Psychology and Psychiatry and more recently the author of Humans in Space: The Psychological Hurdles. Both books received Life Science Book Awards from the International Academy of Astronautics.  He also has published three science fiction novels: The New Martians, The Protos Mandate, and The Caloris Network, and currently is working on a screenplay.


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