When civilizations collide over the stars, there is nothing left to do but declare battle…to the death!
Who knew that astronomy could be so dangerous?
In the winter of 1668 to 1669, four European priests sat in a cold, prison cell in the imperial capital in Peking. The eldest, a German called Johann Adam Schall von Bell (汤若望), was unwell, having suffered a stroke after being sentenced to execution by slow slicing. His Flemish protégé, Ferdinand Verbiest (南怀仁), attended to the stricken Schall, while their two companions, Italian Jesuit Ludovico Buglio and Portuguese priest Gabriel de Magalhães, consoled themselves by writing letters they hoped would exonerate them and their Chinese colleagues, and spare them a gruesome fate.
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Astronomy Domine is a story from our issue, “Fast Forward.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.