Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

L'Astronomia popular al segle XIX: de François Arago a Camille Flammarion

Agustí Nieto-Galan


Through the works of Auguste Comte, François Arago and Camille
Flammarion, among others, this paper analyses the role of popular astronomy
along the nineteenth century. The popularisation of celestial bodies served different
aims: the spread of positivism; the construction of a common place between
expert and lay knowledge; it was a tool for the democratisation of knowledge; an
intersection between science and literature; a stimulus of new scientific careers;
a useful knowledge for amateur scientists; a public space for controversies and
rivalries, in which the scientific authority of observations, theories and opinions
was often under question; it was a strategy to reinforce religious faith, but also a rational
tool in favour of the secularisation; a weapon in the service of anticlericalism;
and very often, a social balsam.

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