Conversations With Marcgrave: The Origin Of Modern Astronomy In The Southern Hemisphere
The year 2004 signals the 400th anniversary of the birth of count Mauricio of Nassau, an important character in the history of Brazil. The present text is related to the period of Dutch domination in Pernambuco. The article attempts to rescue the beginnings of Astronomy study in the South hemisphere. Therefore, we idealized a dramatization of a fictitious interview with German astronomer Georg Marcgrave, who was the constructor of the first astronomical observatory in this hemisphere and the author of the first systematic astronomical observations using telescopes in this side of the world. Our “conversation” with Marcgrave is idealized in the old Recife scenario, a place where he lived in Mauricio of Nassau’s period and gathers some fellow teachers who love the teaching of Astronomy. The story, this way, is reported in a possibly light and funny atmosphere. Nevertheless, the conceptual and historical framework presented is based on reliable bibliographical sources pointed out at the end of the text. The sources range from the original book of that scientist, in which a solar eclipse is reported, passing through some other classical texts, such as that of Professor Juliano Moreira, up to more recent sources such as the very influential work of professor John North. Other influential texts about the Dutch period in Brazil, such as the classical works of Charles Boxer, Bouman and Boogaart, among others, are also used in the construction of this pedagogical dramatization, which involves an interesting chapter of the history of Astronomy.