September 25, 2013

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Is It or Isn't It?

left image by John Herschel (no email address) and right image by Gari Arrillaga, Tarragona, Spain

Peter Abrahams alerted me to a historical photograph that purports to be one of the earliest of the Moon. This image from the J. Paul Getty Museum website has a pencil-written description that says, Photograph of the Moon. Calotype made by Sir John Herschel 1842. One of the earliest photographs on. It seems that there was an additional line to this description that is no longer there. Wikipedia says that this is a photo of Copernicus and it does have the look of a large complex crater with terraces, flat floor and central peaks. In fact, the two small craters to the left could be meant to be Fauth and Fauth A, and the largish crater to the right may represent Gay-Lussac A. My choice of words indicates that I don't think this is an actual photograph of the Moon. This is not one of the well-known Nasmyth and Carpenter lunar models (which were made 25 or more years after 1842), but it is clearly a model of the Moon, for no lunar photo of this scale and clarity was obtained until perhaps 100-125 years later. It is indeed an ancient photograph of a model and I find it interesting that when photography was in its infancy someone (presumably Sir John Herschel who was both a photography pioneer and an astronomer) bothered to take a picture of a model of a lunar crater. I would like to know who made the model (was it Sir John?); perhaps an LPOD reader knows.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
07/30/13, 02:27 UT.

Related Links
21st Century Atlas chart 22.
Gari's website

Yesterday's LPOD: Unified Moon Theory

Tomorrow's LPOD: Rilles And Basins


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