Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer (Playing With Numbers)Posted: July 13, 2011 | |
Whether it is because I have OCD or because I was raised Catholic and am fascinated with numbers, take for example the number 13 which is the number of letters I have in my name: FRANK CUNHA III (without the spaces); Some say that the concept of Friday 13 being an unlucky day is linked with events that occurred in the Christian Bible, and they interpret that these events occurred on a Friday. Examples include the great flood during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Jesus Christ died. But I digress, the point of this post is to memorialize my ability to finally record (albeit partially) the shadow of Ophiuchus cast onto the concrete pad at a popular sculpture located at Montclair State University. I first heard about the sculpture from a studio professor at NJIT (Don Wall, friend to John Hedjuk). I believe Don Wall was trying to stress the importance of context, spatial relations, and the memorialization of event in the design of Architecture. I was finally able to capture the shadow after more than 10-years (I simply kept missing it as life passed by). But here it is…..finally!
(Click Image to See Larger Version)
“Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer” sculpture by former professor Mac Adams is located adjacent to Finley Hall and Sprague Library. It is a fusion of art and science. “Technically, the shadow sculpture is made of steel wedges, bars and disks that seemingly mean nothing sensible,” Rodriguez explained. “However, the breathtaking image emerges when the summer sun casts the shadow of the work from noon to approximately 1:15 p.m. between May and July of each year. (See other sculptures located at MSU.)
Because of the partial overlap of the constellation Ophiuchus and the Sun’s path upon which zodiacal longitude is based, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ’13th sign of the Zodiac’. This is an inappropriate reference since the zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts, initially originated for calendrical purposes. This makes the notion of a ’13th sign’ a mathematical impossibility. It is only correct to refer to Ophiuchus as one of the constellations which cross the zodiac; which does not constitute a zodiacal sign, of which all historical records acknowledge only twelve.