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November-December 2012

Volume 100, Number 6
Page 436

DOI: 10.1511/2012.99.436

To the Editors:

I have just seen Daniel Silver’s article in the September–October issue of American Scientist (“Slicing a Cone for Art and Science”) and thought you might be interested in this recent use of a tilted truncated cone at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (shown below). The cone is illustrated halfway down the page at

Photograph courtesy of Robert Catchpole.

I was asked to think of a design for enclosing our new planetarium. I gave my idea to our architects and was rather amused to see that their first plan showed an egg shape. Having read your article, I see they had a fine precedent in Durer.

I had a lot of fun showing how my design changed with latitude, from a dull cylinder at the pole to something like a strange elongated upturned boat near the equator.

Robin Catchpole
Institute of Astronomy
Cambridge University