This month my Coin of the Month feature (Volume 3 Number 8) will touch on three events. The first event relates to the coins origin in the Ukraine and represents my hope for an acceptable and peaceful resolution to Ukraines ongoing conflict with Russia. Next, this coin commemorates the 2009 International Year of Astronomy and corresponds to my fascination with space exploration. Finally, there will be a lunar eclipse on the night of April 14/15, 2014 that directly correlates to the person depicted on the coins reverse, Yuri Drohobych (1450-1494).
This months coin of the month is a 2009 copper-nickel 5 hryvnia from Ukraine commemorating the International Year of Astronomy. It has a weight of 16.54 grams and is 35mm in diameter. The coin's mintage is 45,000.
A small Ukrainian coat of arms appears prominently on top of the coins obverse dividing the legend, National Bank of Ukraine. The coin's denomination of 5 hryvnia is inscribed on an unraveling scroll along the bottom of the obverse with the date 2009 in exergue just above it. To the right of the scroll is a small mintmark representing the National Bank of Ukraine Mint.
An illustration of the cosmos with a representation of our solar system featuring the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter serves as a backdrop to this coin's obverse. Orbiting the planet earth is its moon.
The female figure to the left of this coins obverse is the mythical goddess of astronomy and astrology, Urania. Urania is one of the nine daughters of Zeus called a Muse. The nine Muses were the goddesses of the various performing and musical arts. Urania is the granddaughter of Uranus and Gaia through Mnemosyne her mother. Uranus (Greek word for heavenly or heaven) is the titan god of the sky from whom Urania probably got her name. Urania also had the power to foretell the future according to the arrangement of the stars. The identifying attributes of Urania are a celestial globe and a wand that she often uses to point towards the globe. She appears on this coin holding a globe in her right hand while pointing to another globe with her wand. Today there are a number of astronomical observatories around the world that use the name Urania within their name. Her image also appears on the official seal of the United States Naval Observatory.
Dividing the reverse of this coin into thirds, the top left quadrant features the official logo of The International Year of Astronomy. Against a background of charted stars or possibly a planetarium, is an image of an adult holding the hand of a child and pointing towards the stars. Underneath the logo is the legend, The International Year of Astronomy. One of the stated goals of the International Year of Astronomy was to introduce the next generation of astronomers to astronomy.
The bottom half of the reverse portrays astronomical books, charts, and instruments. Among the astronomical instruments are a number of spyglasses, a compass, an orrery, and an armillary sphere. An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. The one depicted on this coin uses a candle in the place of the sun and the orbit of one planet. An armillary sphere is a spherical representation of the sky with the earth at its core. As such, the armillary sphere is useful as a navigational apparatus.
The top right quadrant of the reverse features a bust of Ukrainian astrologer/astronomer Yuri Drohobych (1450-1494). Yuri Drohobych, a genius in his time, was also a philosopher, scientist, writer, and medical doctor. Among Yuri Drohobychs many accomplishments is his accurate prediction of two lunar eclipses. Incidentally, the timing of this post coincides with the coming lunar eclipse on the evening of April 14/15, 2014.
Finally, I hope you get a chance to view the eclipse this week. While the earths shadow blocks the light of the sun, the effect of the earth to bend the sun's light will make the moon appear blood red. Unfortunately, the weather around where I live probably will not be favorable to viewing the eclipse. I hope that you have the best conditions possible to view the first of four total eclipses of the moon between now and September 28, 2015.
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