September 14, 2009

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24 Blätter

NE corner of sheet 3 of Schmidt's Charte der Gebirge des Mondes

In 1878 Julius Schmidt published the most detailed hand-drawn map of the Moon. It contained more craters, hills, rilles and valleys than any previous map, and Schmidt counted them all and compared his numbers with those of his predecessors. Unfortunately, his great map has never been as available as those of Beer and Mädler (which was reproduced many times) or the English Moon mappers Neison, Elger and Goodacre who included their maps within their books. Now Schmidt's map sheets, or blätter as they are called in German, are available in the Moon-Wiki. There are two unfortunate aspects, however. First, I have only been able to scan photocopies of small photographs of the sheets so the quality is considerably worse than the originals. Second, one of the blätter is missing from my collection - see index map to the left. Why do you care about these 131 year old charts? If you are interested in the history of lunar mapping or nomenclature no answer is needed - at last a valuable resource is available. If you are a normal observer you may find another use for these blätter. They show the detail that an excellent observer can see using a very good 6" refractor (which I saw at the Athens Observatory in 1969). Pick an area of one of the sheets and see if you can observe all the detail the great Schmidt of Athens depicts.

Chuck Wood

Related Links
Rükl plate 14 and adjacent ones
Schmidt's work as director of the Athens Observatory.

Yesterday's LPOD: Color Me Anorthosite

Tomorrow's LPOD: An Excess of Phases?


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