Intro   Prehistory   Ancient   1600s   1700s   1800s   1900-1960   1960s   1970s   1980s   1990s   2000s  

1896: (Lick) Observatory Atlas of the Moon

Plate 4 of the Lick Atlas showing a region centered on Ptolemaeus near the center of the Earth-facing hemisphere of the Moon. These Lick prints were the first very high quality photos of the Moon and provided a major resource for detailed analysis of the lunar surface. Previous lunar studies were based on visual telescopic observations, which are both very revealing and very frustrating, depending on the atmospheric seeing, temperature and number of mosquito

The original photo is 23 x 32 cm

The Lunar & Planetary Institute in Houston has a few sheets from the Lick Atlas, along with the small letter copied out below: Apparently the Atlas was never completed.



MOUNT HAMILTON, October 1, 1896


I have the honor to send you, with this, Sheet No. I of an Observatory Atlas of the Moon made from negatives taken with the 36-inch telescope. The cost of publication is met by a fund which is owed to the generosity of W.W. Law, Esq., of Scarboro' on-Hudson. The Atlas sheets will be on a scale of three French feet (97.45 cm, 38.36 English inches) to the Moon's diameter. This is the scale of MAEDLER'S map, and one-half that of SCHMIDT'S Lunar Chart.

The sheets will be sent, from time to time, to the principal Observatories of the world, and to a few individuals. As the edition is limited, it is requested that the sheets may be carefully preserved, since it will not be practical to supply duplicates of lost numbers. When the series of sixty (or more) plates is completed, an index-map, etc., will be distributed; and the Atlas can be bound if desirable. It is requested that the receipt of each sheet may be acknowledged.

I have the honor to remain,

My dear Sir,

Very respectfully,


Director of the Lick Observatory

To GC Comstock (handwritten)