Horseshoe, Nature And Science

The horseshoe and its iconic curved shape are two fascinating symbols that feature significantly in all kinds of modern discoveries, from the movements of the stars above us to theories in political science. Let us educate you further in the power and meaning of this wonderfully simple symbol…


Horseshoe bend

Horseshoe bend



Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

The first man to enter space, Russian-Soviet Yuri Gagarin, famously went up in his space shuttle with a lucky horseshoe on board with him. Needless to say, the mission was a success that made world history: his Vostok spacecraft completed a full orbit of planet Earth in April 1961. Taking a lucky horseshoe with him into space was charmingly superstitious, we think, for a great man of science dubbed the ‘Columbus of the Cosmos,’ who reportedly claimed to ‘see no God’ from his position way up in space. Perhaps we knew something we don’t about the innate power of the lucky horseshoe…?



Horseshoe orbit
Horseshoe orbit

Horseshoe orbit

In keeping with the space theme, a horseshoe orbit is a pattern of movement attributed to a small orbiting body in relation to a larger one, in outer space. Looping forwards and backwards on itself without ever completing a full circle, the object – an asteroid, for example - in horseshoe orbit travels towards the larger body in orbit before changing direction and moving back on itself instead of colliding with the larger body. Two of Saturn’s moons, Janus and Epithemus, work in a harmonious horseshoe orbit with one another.



political sciences
The horseshoe theory of political sciences

Political sciences

The horseshoe theory of political sciences argues that opinions positioned to the far left wing and far right wing are – despite sitting at opposite ends of the political spectrum – also paradoxically close to one another in several key ideologies. This puzzling concept is illustrated perfectly by the arched and bent horseshoe shape, whose opposite ends are on one hand very distant from one another but also sit close by - closer to one another than they each are to the political centre. Jean-Pierre Faye is credited with this theory, which today is widely debated among political theorists.



Nebula: horseshoe
The Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula – a collection of stars that make up the Sagittarius region of the Milky Way – is made up of smaller nebulas known as the Checkmark, Lobster, Swan and Horseshoe Nebulas, discovered and categorised in the 18th century. John Herschel attempted to paint this nebula in the 19th century, writing that: ‘the figure of this nebula is nearly that of a Greek capital omega Ω, somewhat distorted and very unequally bright.’ A 19th century painter – Johann von Lamont – made a further attempt at depicting this wonder, writing about that same ‘large horseshoe-shaped arc’ which was previously ‘represented as too much elongated in a vertical direction and as bearing altogether too large a proportion to [the eastern] streak and to the total magnitude of the object.’