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Hooke & Hipparchus

Originally published January 31, 2004


Image Credit: Ingenious Pursuits & Consolidated Lunar Atlas

Hooke & Hipparchus

The earliest drawings of the Moon were of the entire body. By 1665 Robert Hooke, the English rival of Isaac Newton, published (in his Micrographia) the first drawing of a single feature, and it was remarkably accurate. The comparison of Hooke's drawing of the 150 km wide crater Hipparchus with a modern photo taken with a 61" telescope (Consolidated Lunar Atlas sheet E10) shows that Hooke correctly drew many details including two mountainous ridges at the bottom left. Hooke also shows a shadowed arc on the left side of Hipparchus that represents part of a ghost crater and various small hills. Hooke make this drawing with a 30 ft focal length telescope but he never gave the diameter of its lens. He was a very keen-sighted observer, discovering that Jupiter rotates and discovering Syrtis Major on Mars. Hooke was one of the most versatile scientists of the 17th century - I eagerly await the new biography of him by the wonderful author Lisa Jardine.

Related Links:
Consolidated Lunar Atlas image
Ingenious Pursuits by Lisa Jardine, p 63-65, Doubleday, New York, 1999.
England's Leonardo - Robert Hooke

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