The 1819 Rotunda Planetarium

Thomas Jefferson’s 1819 Rotunda Planetarium designs called for a mystifying (and dangerous) boom-and-pulley lift that would to elevate an operator to adjust stars pinned to the Rotunda’s concave ceiling. “The concave ceiling of the Rotunda,” he wrote, “is proposed to be painted sky-blue and spangled with gilt stars in their position and magnitude copied exactly.” […]