I’m a big History buff so of course I’ve combined it with awesome pictures from the past.
Check out some neat images throughout time each week and learn a fun fact (cause who doesn’t like trivia!) 🙂
This week’s History in Pictures is:
Grand Central Terminal, circa 1935. Photograph by the New York City Municipal Archives.
Fun Fact Time!
Grand Central Terminal had a marvelous ceiling designed by French portrait artist Paul Cesar Helleu, executed by James Monroe Hewlett and Charles Basing, in the Main Concourse… an elaborately decorated astronomical ceiling… in 1912
By the 1980s, the ceiling was obscured by decades of what was thought to be coal and diesel smoke… via spectroscopic examination, turns out it was mostly tar and nicotine from tobacco smoke. A 12 year restoration effort, completed in 1996, restored the ceiling to its original design… but leaving a single dark patch above the Michael Jordan Steakhouse as a reminder to visitors of the grime that once covered the ceiling.
The starry ceiling is astronomically inaccurate in a complicated way too.
While the stars within some constellations appear correctly as they would from earth, other constellations are reversed left-to-right, as is the overall arrangement of the constellations on the ceiling. Orion is correct, but the Taurus and Gemini constellations are reversed both internally and in their relation to Orion.
One possible explanation is that the overall ceiling design might have been based on the medieval custom of depicting the sky as it would appear to God looking in at the celestial sphere from outside.
A more likely explanation is partially mistaken transcription of the sketch supplied by Columbia Astronomy professor Harold Jacoby. Though the astronomical inconsistencies were noticed promptly by a commuter in 1913, they have not been corrected in any of the subsequent renovations of the ceiling.