Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A is for Agol

Freshers looking suitably nonchalant in their first week at York University pass by Goodricke college. I wonder what they make of all the cogs? It is a sculpture called Algol by Harry Mercer.
It is placed here because John Goodricke was an astronomer who lived in York in the 18th century. He was born deaf and died aged 22. In his short life he was the first to explain the variations in the brightness of the star Algol - the star consists of two spheres which closely orbit one another making it a binary star.
The sculpture is made from old cogs and wheels salvaged from trains and there are actually two sculptures, one for each sphere. I found the following information here
"When new the globes were lit from within in an approximation to the relative brightness of the real stars - one red, one blue. The sculpture was unveiled at night for full effect. After a speech, the lights dimmed, and the stars lit up, and the honourable speaker was heard to say ``Good God!'' down the mic in a fairly disturbed voice.
Reports indicate they were still lit in 1978-9. Now woefully under-maintained, bits fall off from time to time".
I am happy to report that recently they have been given a facelift.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday 


  1. I am AGOG over Agol!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. They are called Gears you heathens

  3. Quite original...Great choice for the meme. Love it!

  4. Fabulous image and sculpture Deb.

  5. What a shame they don't keep it in good shape. It's amazing!

    abcw team

  6. How cool and super image for today!!!!

  7. Looks like they have been hit with spray paint from time to time! I like it.

  8. What an interesting sculpture and history lesson as well.

  9. Very interesting story and sculpture. - Margy


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