Astronomy arose early, and has always embodied theory, practical application, and lofty expression. In the main image, the astronomers gaze is fixed on the sky in contemplation. He rests one arm on an armillary sphere, a model of the heavens as well as a calculating aid. His left hand holds a compass, the tool of theoretical geometers as well as navigators. Two smaller images expand and elaborate this motif. An image of Saturn evokes the wonders to be seen and understood through astronomy. Another is a navigational sextant with a small telescopic sight representing practical astronomy. At the time the Academy dome was designed, astronomy was in the midst of a major transition. Large telescopes were making the details of the planets and galaxies visible in ways they had never before been seen. Photography and electronic detectors were supplanting the eye of the astronomer at the telescope, and new instruments for analyzing the light were encouraging study of much more than just the locations, distributions, and movements of the celestial bodies. George Ellery Hale himself was in the midst of brokering and developing two, new disciplines based on traditional astronomy. Solar physics allied the traditional observations of the sun with new types of telescopes and with the explanatory power of physics. The other, which he called Astro-Physics, allied physics with the new studies of the lives of stars. The cosmology of the expanding universe was then just emerging.